Working Well to support people with convictions to move forward with hope to make a positive contribution to society.

NIACRO is delighted to launch Working Well, NIACRO’s employment support programme for people with convictions. Working Well is funded by the European Social Fund and domestic partners including the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

With nearly 50 years’ experience of offering services to people who have convictions, NIACRO understands that supporting people into employment or employment-related training significantly helps to reduce reoffending and build positive futures.

Resettlement back into the community post-conviction is critical to reducing the risk of reoffending. This is not just an issue relating to justice, pathways to effective resettlement include access to meaningful education, employment and training as well as sustainable housing and appropriate mental and physical healthcare.

Many factors combine to make it difficult for people who have convictions to (re)enter employment.  Working Well offers a suite of specialist services which, when combined, help to break down barriers to employment for all concerned, including employers, FE Colleges and training organisations. 

Rachel Long, Programme Manager for the Working Well programme said:

“We are delighted to welcome Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, as guest speaker to launch the Working Well programme for people with convictions. Working well will underpin NIACRO’s key aims to support progress towards the labour market, reduce reoffending; and tackle discrimination.”

Speaking at the Working Well launch, Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, said:

“It is great to be a part of the Working Well launch and to support NIACRO to provide a voice and practical support for people with convictions in Northern Ireland who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record. It is important to continue to collaborate with colleagues across the UK and beyond to help people to overcome the difficulties they face with a criminal record and work to remove systemic barriers thst get in the way of people making a positive contribution to society.”

NIACRO is calling for a commitment from decision makers to contribute to a reduction in reoffending by pledging to: promote equality of access to further education; educate employers about fair and safe recruitment; ensure access to ‘through-the-gate’ support services for released prisoners; and to review the Rehabilitation of Offenders’ legislation, building on the filtering of records approach.

To find out more about Working Well, visit the NIACRO website: www.niacro.co.uk/workingwell. You can also e-mail workingwell@niacro.co.uk or call us on 02890320157. If you are on Probation, you can ask your Probation Officer to refer you to your local Working Well team.

Notes to editors