Timely help for West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project
How a grant from Allchurches Trust is helping vulnerable people find their feet in society.
West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project (WYCCP) gives practical and moral support to men on their release from prison. Spending time in prison can significantly diminish a person’s self-esteem, and they can face prejudice in the outside world. WYCCP provides support before and after release, helping ex-prisoners find a place in society once more.
The support includes practical help such as claiming benefits, accessing a doctor and looking for work, as well as advice and signposting to help men make positive choices and lead a crime-free life.
The project, which works with around 300 men a year, is clearly working as 75% of the men that WYCCP worked with are still in the community one year on from release. Eddie, just one of the men WYCCP has helped says “This year has got to be one of the best years I’ve had in a long, long time… just a few of the things WYCCP have done for me this year: glasses, teeth, a home, self-respect and respect from all of my family.”
A challenging year
At the beginning of 2015, circumstances beyond WYCCP’s control meant that the project was facing a crisis. The government had contracted out the rehabilitation of offenders through a programme called Transforming Rehabilitation. It was understood that the programme would provide significant funding opportunities for the charitable sector consequently large charitable trusts were reluctant to support charities in the criminal justice sector whilst Transforming Rehabilitation was being established.
WYCCP had been given expectations that they would be contracted through Transforming Rehabilitation however, contracting was delayed in the North East and this led to a significant cash flow problem for WYCCP.
At this challenging time WYCCP approached Allchurches Trust to apply for a grant. We were happy to support the project to help them carry on their life-changing work. Since the grant the project has managed to come through this difficult period, and there are now indications that a Transforming Rehabilitation contract may be on the cards.
That’s great news for people like Eddie, who says “I truly believe that the more people there are that can do what WYCCP do for ex-offenders like me, a lot less crime would be committed.”