Through the Gate
The core of Only Connect’s work is Through the Gate support for men released from prison.
We start working with the men while they are still in prison. Some are referred to us from various agencies (for example St Mungo’s, that works with homeless prisoners) and others we meet when we go on the Wings.
We are interested in making the transition from the prison to the Outside as smooth as possible. We want to make sure the obvious things are in place: they have photo ID (or else they won’t be able to get a job), they have thought about their lifestyle and that they genuinely do want to change, and they have started thinking about what sort of job they would like and can realistically get.
Once they are out, we try to meet them as soon as possible and work with them to make sure they are heading for a job. A few are able to get work straight away, but many need both guidance and encouragment We often help them get on training courses, before actually finding a job. The most popular are a CSCS card – a compulsory health and safety qualification for people in construction, and a Personal Track Safety course which often leads to work on the railways.
We work with all ages, but the work with the under 25s is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF). This work has been funded via HM Prison & Probation Service Co-financing Organisation (CFO), as part of the CFO3 programme. CFO3 uses ESF funding to support individuals in custody and the community into training and employment. CFO3 recognises the potential of the through-the-gate work to up-skill individuals and address local skills shortages.
To learn more about the work of the HMPPS CFO, please visit https://www.co-financing.org/