Pact Futures provide a Through the Gate Mentoring service to those leaving custody on behalf of DDC, BGSW and Wales CRC. This service began in February of this year and aims to support men and women though one of their most vulnerable times and to offer encouragement and assistance with their resettlement needs.
To date they have engaged with almost 50 women leaving HMP Styal and HMP Eastwood Park. Pact mentors tailor the support provided to each woman based on her identified needs. They offer emotional support, building rapport and trust so that women feel able to discuss their needs and concerns about leaving custody. They also offer very practical support, escorting women from the prison gate to their local area of resettlement, supporting them to attend key appointments and to remain motivated to change.
With 85% of the women they supported being met at the gate so far, they have a platform to return safely into the community in the company of our mentors. This has been particularly welcomed by those women who have experienced violence or exploitation and have specific anxieties about their return into the community on the day of their release. Pact’s knowledgeable Mentors support women to engage with their Offender Manager, register with a GP, pick up a script or medication, initiate a benefits claim and advocate for housing or indeed escort them to pre-arranged accommodation. The women tell Pact this makes an overwhelming release date easier to cope with. To date 100% of the women that they have worked with have successfully made their meeting with their Offender Manager, starting their release on the right tracks.
Where possible Pact look to refer women into local sources of support, and would be delighted to hear from you as to how they may join up with your services in Wales and the South West. Please get in touch by emailing Mentoring Referrals. They are also looking for volunteer mentors to support us in their work – if you or anybody you know would be interested please contact Volunteering. Pact would be especially happy to hear from potential volunteers in the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall area.