Clean Sheet – supporting former prisoners into building a positive future
Former prisoners are being supported into employment in an effort to prevent the risk of reoffending.
Fifty men and women from across Essex, including Rochford, Southend, Uttlesford, Thurrock, Maldon and Brentwood, who have recent or historic convictions will be working with Clean Sheet to build a positive future.
The remote employment support service, provided by the national Christian charity, gives direct access to more than 100 employers who are open to interviewing and assessing people based on merit and skill, rather than their convictions.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £19,500 to Clean Sheet from the 2022-23 Crime Prevention Fund to fund the remote employment support service in Essex.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “It stands to reason that when someone comes out of prison and is faced with nothing but closed doors when it comes to finding work that they can feel they are left with few options but to return to a life of crime.
“We are committed to investing in crime prevention and that is why we are pleased to be supporting the work by Clean Sheet in our county.
“Fifty men and women will find a positive path and be given the guidance and support to get their lives back on track as a result of this work.”
Sam Graham, chief operating officer, said: “We are working with people with convictions to help them to find work. We know that that is a huge factor in reducing reoffending.
“There has been a shift in the last few years, as previously many employers were resistant to the idea of taking people on with convictions. But, with the current skills shortage, employers are becoming more open. We take employers through how we support Clean Sheet members and we explain why it is good for their business to employ people with convictions – often, they are more loyal and determined because they know the power of being given a second chance.
“Perceptions are changing. What employers access is a talent pool of people who really want to move forwards and make a lasting change. In Essex, this will be 50 people who have made mistakes, but who now want to move forwards.
“We provide members with tailored advice and guidance for job searching, for as long as it takes for them to find work. We really partner with the person on their journey. Our members can approach our list of employers confidently, knowing they will not be turned away because they have convictions.
“People can move forward with their lives with our support.”
Once members – referred to the scheme by Community Safety Partnerships or probation – have secured work, the charity supports them for a further 12 months to help them to stay on track.
Sam said: “We have got a model that works.
“The Essex PFCC funding means we can carry out this targeted work in the county where we know there is a need. It is absolutely brilliant.
“It means we can really focus on those 50 people, as well as seek to develop our employers in this area.”
The charity supports members in their job searching skills, helps them to develop their CV and provides guidance on interview techniques, including how to broach the subject of their convictions in a productive way.
Our Community Safety Development Fund has just launched! Find out if your local group, charity or not for profit organisation is eligible for up to 20k funding for projects that work to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and support vulnerable people. Applications for the grant will close the on Friday 17 of February 2023. More info here: Community Grants – Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (pfcc.police.uk)