From education to employment

£1million Big Idea Fund awards five innovative prison projects

£1million Big Idea Fund awards funding to five innovative projects, unlocking the potential of UK Prison population and supporting rehabilitation

City & Guilds Foundation is awarding five innovative projects with funding through its £1m Big Idea Fund, which supports prisoners with their rehabilitation on release from prison.

The Big Idea Fund, established in 2019, was the first major initiative of the City & Guilds Future Skills Commission for Prisons, and impact to date shows that 462 prisoners and ex-offenders have been directly supported. Three years on, 96% have gained knowledge and skills, and 63% are either in education, employment or training at the end of the programme or on release.

This is the second round of grant distribution from the Big Idea Fund, with a share of £380,000 to be awarded to five UK based organisations. In total, the £1million fund has now awarded over £750,000.

The funding in this round has been awarded to Beating Time (£50,000); CIPD Trust (£70,000); London’s Community Kitchen (£100,000); Pentonville Charitable Consortium and XO Bikes (£90,000); St Giles’ Trust (£70,000).

Based across the UK, each programme aims to transform how meaningful training and skills courses can be delivered to those inside prison, and how those individuals are supported through the gate, on release, into employment.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive of City & Guilds said:

‘The role of City & Guilds as a voice for skills has never been more important – and helping those who are particularly vulnerable as they leave prison, to access employment, is paramount to delivering our objective of reducing reoffending.’

‘It was thrilling to see the breadth and variety of initiatives applying to The Big Idea Fund in this second round, making it highly competitive and difficult for the Commissioners to come to a final decision.’

‘We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of this latest round of funding – on those that participate in the programmes, on the organisations they work for and society that we’re all part of.’

Currently, around three in ten of those released from sentences every year, go on to offend again, at an estimated social and economic cost of £18.1bn. Data shows that getting into work soon after release cuts reoffending by one third. And improving skills access is key to keeping ex-offenders out of prison, while enabling them to make a valuable contribution to the community.

Ian Bickers, Prison Group Director, London Prisons and Commissioner for the Future Skills Commission for Prisons, said:

“I am delighted to be supporting this initiative again with the City & Guilds Foundation. I have seen first-hand in the prison estate the impact that exciting and innovative training can have – both for the individual and the employers they work with – on release. We have been really impressed by the difference the projects are making, from the first round of funding, and look forward to seeing another round of innovative new ideas that have the potential to transform the way skills are delivered in prisons.”

Related Articles