No barriers with offenders literacy tutor

OFFENDERS rehabilitated in East Renfrewshire face a new, one-of-a-kind scheme aimed at getting them back on track.

The No Barriers project – run in partnership with the East Ren Community Health Care Partnership (CHCP) and council’s adult learning team – introduces an adult literacy tutor to an offender’s social work review.

It is hoped that the initiative will reduce re-offending, by supporting people through training and providing goals to work towards employment.

Jonathan Hinds, ERC’s criminal justice service manager, explained: “The key to No Barriers taking off was that criminal justice staff and learning staff got to know each other to understand and demystify the work we do – so it wasn’t an issue that the adult learning team would be working with offenders.

“The experience of offenders can often be disjointed, but they see No Barriers as joined up. It’s tailored to each person as an individual, and gives them an opportunity to move towards being more employable”.

So far, 61 people have been involved in the No Barriers scheme. Of those, three have gone into paid employment, while five have applied for college places and one has been placed on a reserve list for a construction course.

Another two previous offenders have completed Prince’s Trust programmes, and four others have applied for the same programme.

And six have already attended a training scheme for a construction skills certificate, while 11 have gone on to further adult learning courses.

The scheme also introduces job-related goals, including routes to driving theory tests and therapeutic and holistic activities, such as smoking cessation.