Michael, 26, had served a string of short sentences before he started working with a mentor on the Wise Group’s New Routes programme. With the support of Mark, his mentor, Michael has secured a two year contract through a partnership with Glasgow Together and is looking forward to a new life with his partner.
Before joining New Routes, Michael had been in and out of prison – his most recent sentence being 18 months. Before this, Michael had never left prison with the external support of a mentor and, as is so often the case, found himself in a cycle of reoffending.
Michael was clear that working with a mentor was a turning point for him. He said:
“I’ve always been the one to call friends, ask them how they are, but I’ve never had anyone call me to see how I’m doing. This was what Mark did. Just a call to ask how I’m doing and someone to keep me on the straight and narrow”.
The Wise Group’s partnership with Glasgow Together presented Michael with an opportunity to work full-time on some major construction projects. Glasgow Together is a community interest company (CIC), supporting people with an offending background to gain skills and experience in the workplace, often working on contracts up to two years. Barry Mochan, Chief Executive of Glasgow Together, explains:
“We support people through the transition from prison to pay cheque by offering training, support and an appreciation of their circumstance from the beginning. Going from prison to full-time work – often dealing with a raft of challenges personally – can be a big ask so we might be a bit more relaxed about time keeping or conduct in the first couple of months, for example. We offer training throughout the contract. We don’t have a fixed training programme as everybody’s needs are different and we want everyone to get the most out of their time with us.”
Wise Group mentors work with people serving short term sentences, offering support and guidance around needs they have identified. Through the New Routes programme, some 700 people are supported every year. 83% of them report that their situation got better in at least one area, including mental health, addiction and/or relationships, with over 50% saying that their mentor is the most important factor in their improvement.
For customers who have identified employment as their primary need, opportunities through partnerships like Glasgow Together are vital to supporting successfully moving on from offending.