From education to employment

Howard League Community Awards winners revealed 2022

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Successful schemes encouraging desistance from crime received national recognition today (Tuesday 22 November) as the winners of the 2022 Howard League Community Awards were announced.

The prestigious awards are presented annually by the Howard League for Penal Reform to people and organisations whose innovative work keep people out of the criminal justice system by providing alternative, proportionate, effective, and targeted interventions. 
From a high-quality field of nominations, entries from England, Wales and Northern Ireland were shortlisted for this year’s awards, giving them the chance to promote their work on the national stage. They tuned into a Howard League online celebration event this morning to hear the winners and commended entries being announced.

Catryn Yousefi, Programmes Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:

“The Howard League Community Awards celebrate the incredible work being done within communities to provide targeted interventions and reduce the risk of re-offending.

“Every year, we are consistently blown away by the quality and range of entries, and are delighted to be able to honour some of the best schemes in the UK.

“These winners are committed to making our towns and cities safer, and show that we can change lives and reduce crime through innovative and pioneering projects.”

Dr Ben Bradford, Chair of the Community Awards 2022 and Trustee at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:

These awards shine a light on the fantastic work done by the third sector, community groups and criminal justice agencies to divert people away from offending, provide rehabilitation, support victims, and reduce crime.

“I am in awe of the commitment, ingenuity and enterprise on display, as well as, of course, of the results so many of the programmes and initiatives produce.”

The ‘Organisation of the Year’ award was shared by two outstanding entries – Willowdene Rehabilitation LTD and Working Chance.

For more than 30 years, Willowdene has been a pioneer of innovative rehabilitative solutions for men and women facing the complex issues that stem from a life filled with factors including offending behaviour, homelessness, poor mental health, substance misuse, and general disconnection from community and society at large.

Working Chance helps women with convictions to develop the confidence, skills and self-belief they need to overcome any barriers to their employment, find jobs and build careers. It works with organisations of all sizes across all sectors to find opportunities for women that align with their skills and aspirations.

The ‘Women’ category was won by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Liaison and Diversion, Alana House and Thames Valley Police for their Enrich project, aiming to reduce the number of women receiving custodial sentences.

Part-funded by Thames Valley Police and Berkshire Community Foundation, Enrich offers trauma-informed support to women with multiple needs. Piloting in Reading, the project will offer a community resolution to women with complex needs who have been arrested for committing low-level crime.

The Golden Key was the winner of the ‘racial disparities in youth justice’ category for The Call In, a project seeking to divert young people involved in drug-related offending away from the cycle of criminality by giving them the opportunity to take part in an intense six-month programme of mentoring, learning and activities.

The ‘Policing and children’ category was shared by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership and Thames Valley Restorative Justice.

Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership is helping the government to deliver its serious violence strategy in response to national increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide. Their project, named Inclusion, involves a deferred prosecution pilot which builds upon current Merseyside provisions for out of court disposals.

Thames Valley Restorative Justice’s School Responder Project is currently being piloted in schools in Berkshire and Oxfordshire and seeks to prevent young people entering the criminal justice system where it is not necessary. This frees up local policing to focus on other community issues, generally avoids escalation and can result in a more harmonious outcome for all concerned.  
West Midlands Police & Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner won the top prize in the ‘Policing and adults’ category. Their Offender Rehabilitation Programme focuses on identifying people who have substance misuse issues and are prolific shoplifters and then helps them by dealing with the root cause of their offending.
The ‘Restorative approaches’ category was won by West Midlands Restorative Justice Project. The project was established in 1996 with the simple aim of offering victims of crime the opportunity to engage in a restorative intervention with the person responsible. It has developed a wide range of restorative approaches across the youth and adult criminal justice systems, within community settings and in response to conflict wherever it may arise.
The ‘Liaison and diversion’ category was won by West Mercia Police for its Steer Clear Project, which educates young people on the dangers of knife crime. It was funded via the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund.

Winners and Commendations by category 
Organisation of the Year 
Working Chance
Willowdene Rehabilitation LTD
Racial disparities in youth justice 
The Call in Programme
Golden Key
No Admission Pathway
Sussex Police 
Liaison and diversion 
The Steer Clear Project
West Mercia Police 
The Trust for Developing Communities
Brighton Streets
Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Team
Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Policing and adults 
Offender Rehabilitation Programme
West Midlands Police/Office of the Police Crime Commissioner
Cumbria Pathways
Policing and children 
School Responders Project
Thames Valley Restorative Justice
Operation Inclusion
Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership

Operation Divan
North Yorkshire Police 
Restorative approaches 
West Midlands Restorative Justice Project

Serious Violence Prevention Programme
Shekinah Make Amends

Safer Communities
Restorative Cleveland
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Liaison and Diversion; and Alana House; and Thames Valley Police
Willowdene Women’s Whole System Approach
Willowdene Rehabilitation LTD

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