Through volunteer-led mentoring our New Leaf a programme provides support to ex-offenders who plan to resettle in Oxfordshire, Berkshire or Buckinghamshire including Milton Keynes. With encouragement and practical help to address any issues and challenges they have, many are able to settle back into the community, refrain from re-offending and fulfil their potential. We focus on helping our mentees achieve goals in 7 key areas (such as finding somewhere to live and means of supporting themselves), which are evidenced to significantly reduce the re-offending rate.
Trained volunteer mentors meet with clients before release, on the day of release and weekly thereafter to review progress and help put plans into action. They also can point clients towards organisations who can help with specific problems such as homelessness, debt, drugs, alcohol and relationships. Mentors are available by telephone at agreed times, to offer support and advice between meetings.
“Much crime strategy is about containment — New Leaf, however, goes further than that. It helps ordinary people with all kinds of positive faith and vision for others to connect with offenders, creating and supporting relationships that actually turn things around. It’s good news for the whole community.”
RT Revd Alan Wilson, (former) Bishop of Buckingham
The ex-offender is despatched with a discharge grant of £46 (an amount fixed in the 1990s which has not risen with inflation) and usually the same clothes in which they arrived, often unwashed and totally unsuitable for the time of year. Many have nowhere to go; the future feels bleak and without options.
Our volunteer mentor, and a driver are on hand to take them to their first probation appointment, help with temporary accommodation where possible, equip them with a suitable clothing package (all donated) and a community pack of essentials to tide them over their immediate needs.