We firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance and that people who have reformed and served their sentence should not continue to be judged. Prison can work if the right resources to rehabilitate and resettle people are put in place for their release.
Research has shown the current re-offending rate is around 55% for the general adults and even higher for young offenders. The strategy of NOMS (National Offender Management Service) to reducing re-offending is built around seven key pathways.
- Education, Training and Employment
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Finance, Benefit and Debt Management
- Children and Families
- Attitudes, Thinking and Behaviour
Lack of paid employment upon release from prison is often a key factor for people returning back to crime. Whilst voluntary and community work has its benefits, it does not address the key financial barriers facing ex-offenders. Foundation 4 Life not only acts as a channel for voluntary work experience and training but also offers purposeful paid employment without the stigma normally attached to employing ex offenders. Importantly we look beyond the stereotypes, work with each person as an individual and focus on their skills and assets.
We also provide extensive support and mentoring for our team in order to maintain their change of lifestyle, thus making a positive contribution to society delivering on two key pathways (2 & 7).
Over the last few years Foundation4Life have worked in partnership with the prison service and charitable organizations such as Crime Diversion Scheme (CDS) in offering training voluntary work and paid employment for serving prisoners and ex-offenders on release from custody. In recent times we have worked with
- HMP Coldingley
- HMP Bullingdon Resettlement Prisons
- HMP Standford Hill
- HMP Blantyre House
- Women’s Prisons East Sutton Park
- HMP SEND
Due to the nature of our clientele and the beneficiaries of our service we have to be highly selective and thorough in the sourcing, vetting, training, management and supervision of team members. A very strict code of conduct and protocols are put in place for all employees, all of whom receive ongoing appraisals.
We have had countless success stories where our team has shown their skills and life experiences to be a real asset, with the right support, and they can perform with the professionalism and integrity of anyone else within a work environment.
The deployment of ex-offenders and ex-gang members is central to our team as their life experiences are invaluable when dealing with young people at risk. We currently employ over 30 ex-offenders working primarily as behavior consultants and mentors within our organization.
F4L were drafted in to work with Damola, his pre-con information was in depth and it was stated that this young man was a high risk YP who presented a clear and present danger to others. He was a known active gang member, his Youth Offending Team had highlighted a series of risk factors.
F4L arranged to meet this young man in comfortable but familiar surroundings for him as to not alarm or unnerve him. From all descriptions we expected a huge snarling disfigured man but from previous experience knew we were going to meet a young man who was misunderstood, misguided and yearning to be someone.
F4L appointed one of their leading and most experienced consultants to deal with this young person.
On first impressions I was not disappointed as he was confident but respectful of me and what I represent, he was charming and compliant to all I suggested to him. I told him if he continued doing what he was doing he would be dead or in prison very soon, if he still wants to take this path it is still available to him, but I believe him to be of a greater substance, that if correctly harnessed and nurtured he could have a more fruitful and fulfilling existence. I empathised with his current situation and that of the "streets" and shared with him my personal journey as we shook hands to cement this new union, I looked in to his eyes and told him firmly, "believe in yourself and you will not fail."
Damola has undergone an intensive 'I-Can' programme which covers all aspects of his offending behaviour, unpicking all the issues and dilemmas he had going on around him. He has attended all of our training sessions, he has successfully graduated as a peer mentor and is now training to become a co-facilitator working to empower young people in similar situations.
He is also currently studying in Brighton furthering his education out of his area to avoid distractions which he felt would be better for him, he has become an active member of his local church and is now a proud son to a doting mother and father.
Ronaldo Gordon has been to prison 13 times for countless offences including: supplying Class-A drugs, street robbery etc. He was also involved in a youth gang and was listed as a PPO (Persistent Prolific Offender).
Whilst serving a 4 and a half year sentence at HMP Coldingley he joined the CCDS (Coldingley Crime Diversion Scheme) a scheme which runs crime and consequences day events for young people at risk of offending. This includes: schools, Youth Offending Teams, Pupil Referral Units and other youth organisations. This was a pivotal turning point for Ronaldo. Whilst here he received Geese theatre training, child protection training, VRQ level 2 in Youth Work as well as mental health training.
Whilst on the CCDS he came into contact with F4L who mentored and worked with him on making a change in his lifestyle, remaining in contact throughout his sentence. Upon release from Coldingley he voluntarily worked here at Foundation 4 Life where he has been trained in group work facilitation, conflict resolution and mentoring.
Yo Denzle and Gifford,
Wah Gwarn its PJ here, I just wanted to write and tell you nuff thanks for coming in the other day & spending the day with us and showing us how you work and that. I had a wicked day an I enjoyed the whole day it was BIG.
I feel that I learnt bare and took a lot away with me, I cant wait to see yous again and get some more from you both and then we can show you what we've done. I really enjoy this kind of work and I really hope to continue with it when I come out.
I would like to link you's when I come out and maybe get some work with F4L.
We've got our next event date for the 27th of October and we're gonna play that team balls which I will present, cause I thought that game was proper specially after you guys explained it. I think you's done really good and for me you are a big inspiration with what your doing.
A BIG thank you again and I hope to see you again soon.
Take care and big respect
Gifford and Denzle,
Thank you for your inspirational presentation, it was informative, imaginative and show us it was evident that you both have a passion for your work. I will certainly use a lot of the advice that you freely shared in my own work with CDS. Once again thanks, I hope that you will help us in the future.
Dear Denzle and Gifford,
Thank you so much for coming to the SCDS and doing your brilliant
presentation, I was totally engrossed from start to finish. I found it
thoroughly entertaining, informative and very interesting. You both did
an amazing job with your delivery and I took a lot away from the day.
Your energy, enthusiasm and positive vibes shone through as well as you dedication and commitment to what you do and I know me and the rest of the team came a way on a high. We all hope to see you again for some more training. Keep doing what you do - you're an inspiration.
Dear Denzle and Gifford,
I want to thank you both for taking your time out to come to help us. What you do is both sorely needed and invaluable, I learnt so much from the day and was captivated from start to finish and was a little disappointed when the day had ended.
Although I am not a very vocal
member of the group I gained confidence and motivation from your
training, I feel that you have opened my eyes and given me a goal to aim
towards in the future. I look forward to seeing you both againand want
to let you knoware both an inspiration to me.
Thanks a million
Dear Denzle and Gifford
It was really lovely to meet you the other day! Thank you so much for coming to see us and giving us the fantastic presentation. Even though I was feeling really rough with the abcess, I still found the whole experience really enlightening and just wish I had been better so I could have joined in more with all the fun and games as well as to contribute more to all the exercises. What I was able to absorb was really mind blowing and challenging.
I can't wait until you come in again so that I can take a more active part. Anyway, now I look less like the elephant woman and almost like a human being. I really appreciated you taking the time out to come and help us with CDs here as you both obviously very busy.
I hope to see you again soon. Until then good luck with all your projects. You both do so much tremendous work with ex offenders. Thanks to people like you at last prisoners have a chance of a life outside and others are helped not to end up inside in the first place.
Thank you once again for the privilege of being part of the workshop and
I'm looking forward to repeating the experience very soon.
Its Sharron here, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your day with us. The whole day was mesmerizing from start to finish and truly captivated my undivided attention, you had my whole being 'Glued'.
Denzle - You're a character funny as the proverbial f**k!!
I only hope that maybe one day I'll be able to facilitate just as you did. But even better 'Jokes'.
Well we do have something in common, not the brawn but I too had alopecia
(not nice) its not easy to talk about our misfortunes so I'd like to thank
you for doing so and bringing many parts of your life story.
Gifford - The silent thinker!!
When you speak you deliver in such a way that one feels cured then and there such ambiance. I am now convinced that I too have the ability to help youngsters and make a difference not only in their lives but in mine too.
I so look forward to seeing you both real soon. Keep doing the good stuff