Our work has been given a significant boost by a £2 million grant from the Big Lottery fund.
The money has been awarded to a consortium brought together by Circles UK consisting of Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire Circles, SOVA, Cumbria Reducing Reoffending Partnership Trust (CROPT), Safer Living Foundation and Circles South East. The Circles Consortium partners bring a wealth of experience in the criminal justice sector, both in the community and prison. We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for this support as it enables us to establish nearly 200 more Circles in areas where there are currently no Circles, ensuring that high risk sex offenders will receive support in the community once released from prison. Research shows that where Circles do not exist, there is greater risk of further abuse to children and young people than in areas where there are Circles. This programme is already up and running and making excellent progress.
OVER 750 VOLUNTEERS to be RECRUITED
More than 750 volunteers will be recruited and trained to work to rigorous standards, alongside the statutory public protection agencies to support a sex offender for a period of up to 18 months. The majority of people supported will have committed serious offences against children or young people and on release will be under the management of the National Prison and Probation Service (NPPS) or Police through Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Volunteers recruited for this program will provide a unique, supportive and accountable social network to counteract the isolation and alienation that many sex offenders face.
The programme will also contribute to wider learning about the impact of volunteers on the offenders taking part. The evaluation, ‘Completing the Circle’, will be undertaken by a partnership led by Nottingham Trent University. Circles UK’s Research and Evaluation Group, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health, Oxford University and Nottingham Trent University, will act in an advisory role to the evaluation team.