Lottery cash for prison scheme

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A charity which befriends ex-offenders has received nearly £300,000 in Lottery funding.

The Community Resettlement Support Project (CRSP), which works with former inmates living in Bedfordshire and Luton is based at Bedford Prison.

Trained volunteers befriend adults leaving prison and resettling in the area, as well as those ex-offenders managed by Bedfordshire Probation Trust.

Rob Burton of the CRSP, said: “We are extremely thankful to the Big Lottery Fund for responding to our plea for help.

“Ex-offenders face significant barriers in life - many of them have drug and alcohol dependencies, health problems, broken relationships and poor housing and employment prospects.”

He added: “The impact of isolation, stigma, rejection and loneliness can cause ex-offenders to lack belief in themselves to bring about a change in their situation. What CRSP is offering is support to improve ex-offenders’ lives and hopefully a future without resorting to crime.”

CRSP workers applied to the Big Lottery Fund in order to keep their project going, and the grant of £290,008 will be paid over the next five years.

An evaluation of the charity’s work showed that 80 per cent of ex-offenders supported said that they had increased confidence. 100 per cent said they felt more confident account accessing the services they needed and 80 per cent said they were less likely to re-offend.

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