The Empower programme in North East Lincolnshire is a partnership of public sector and voluntary organisations providing a range of services to people who are ex-offenders and unemployed. The programme supports individuals to overcome barriers that may prevent them from looking for or gaining employment. Empower is funded by the Change Programme in North East Lincolnshire and seeks to support changes in ex-offenders towards positive lifestyles and work.
Eligibility for the Empower programme is determined through clear criteria.
Individuals must have genuine connections to the area; be aged 18 years of age or more; in receipt of Job Centre Plus benefit and not in full-time employment or education
And… Serving a prison sentence of 12 months or less and on release from prison, will not be subject of Probation Service provision.
Or… In the community and having a criminal conviction that is a barrier to employability and employment.
Who we are
The Empower programme team includes staff from a wide range of backgrounds and experience to help support ex-offenders progress towards becoming more employable. This experience includes – but is not limited to – knowledge of the criminal justice system; housing and accommodation support; counselling; substance misuse treatment; employment and training, and benefit advice and support.
The Empower programme benefits from the diversity of the team and particularly so because the team includes individuals who have themselves overcome the barriers of past offending or a history of substance misuse. We believe that peer mentors can act as positive role models to help individuals overcome issues and achieve their goals.
The team puts ex-offenders, their employability and employment at the heart of everything that we do. We are non-judgemental, open and honest and aim to build trust with our client group and our partner organisations.
Referral and engagement
The Empower team are community based and will continue to build networks with statutory, voluntary and community sector agencies; referrals can be received from any agencies and the programme referral form can be provided in either hard copy or electronic format. Alternatively the referral form can be downloaded here or we can be contacted on 01472 268708.
Following referral, an appointment will be made for one of our team to see prospective clients. Where clients are already engaged with a local agency we prefer to complete the first meeting with the client at that agency to prevent duplication, confusion and to underpin that we are providing a supportive role. At the first meeting an Empower mentor will be identified to support the client to access and attend agreed activities that will best assist the individual’s personalised care management plan and help achievement of goals.
The programme also engages with clients through prison in-reach. Empower team members visit individuals in local prisons to commence resettlement plans well before the individual is released to ensure the best possible opportunities for positive behaviour on return to the community and early progress towards employment.
What we’re here for
The Empower programme helps in accessing activities that will overcome the barriers identified by an individual need; it is not one size fits all. Our main themes are;
We seek to ensure that an individual has suitable accommodation in our communities and, where necessary, has access to funding support to help maintain the tenancy. Additionally, we will ensure that individuals have the basic skills to maintain independent living through knowing how to cook for themselves; keep their accommodation clean and tidy; understand gas, electric and water services. We will provide ongoing support to the individual, agencies and landlords.
Where an individual has a history of drug or alcohol misuse, we ensure that there is effective engagement with treatment agencies and assist the client in attending all appointments at the agency, pharmacies and peer support or mutual aid networks.
Physical, emotional and mental health
We ensure that clients are registered with doctors and dentists; receive health screenings and are able to access suitable services to address health issues. Interventions include a range of holistic therapies. counselling, bereavement counselling and anger management.
Counselling and holistic therapies can improve confidence and in addition to these, we will provide access to peer support networks, community-based social and sporting activities and work-trail taster sessions.
Finance, benefit and debt
We provide direct access to advocacy and brokerage services for debt and benefits issues; also access to intensive and structured bespoke money management training.
To ensure clients can access the range of community-based activities the programme offers and be able to get to training and work opportunities, we have developed a bespoke training package enabling individuals to understand and use local transport systems effectively.
To provide positive role models who will motivate ex-offenders to identify their individual issues and goals and help them to find ways of resolving them. Mentors will also help individuals access specialist areas of support.