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A county-wide project being run by local charity YSS is transforming the lives of young offenders says local MP Peter Luff. After a visit to the charity at its Elmley Lovett HQ on Friday, he described the project as “inspirational”.

YSS is an independent charity with over 25 years experience of providing community based support services for children, young people, adults and families who are vulnerable, have complex needs and who face difficult life challenges. Their “Transition to Adulthood” (T2A) pilot project in West Mercia, funded by Barrow Cadbury Trust to work intensively with 16 – 24 year olds in the criminal justice system and, says the MP, “gives them a real chance to rebuild their lives.”

David Andrewartha, acting Team Manager YSS, and T2A Keyworker Alison Steedman together with 3 young people using the service gave the opportunity for the MP to hear first-hand some of the experiences of the young adults T2A works with. The young adults shared their views on a number of issues including employment, the lack of affordable rented accommodation, services for those with mental health issues and the need to provide better education on drugs in schools about the impact drugs have on the lives of you and your family. They also heard from Peter Luff what the role of an MP involves and the type of things he is currently working on.

Peter Luff commented:

"I saw that it is perfectly possible to turn around young lives and give people who have fallen into bad company or made serious errors of judgement a completely fresh start. The testimony I heard from young offenders about the effectiveness and importance of this scheme was really impressive and I congratulate everyone involved.”

Comments from the service users included:

• "If it was not for the T2A project then I would have been back in prison."

• “In prison there is plenty of structure to my day but in the community my T2A worker has helped me plan, and find activities.”

• “I am living at the YMCA, and have the support of my T2A key worker. She has helped me with getting evidence of my identity, (copy of birth certificate) and sorting out my benefits and a bank account".

Peter Luff appreciated the extra value that this type of service can bring to a person's life. He was encouraged that each of the young adults had inspirations for jobs and had been applying. The types of jobs mentioned included painting and decorating, work in retail or in a warehouse or an outdoor job. He enjoyed the visit and was very keen to hear the young adults’ views.

Friday morning's visit was a great success, as it was a very positive meeting and has given much food for thought. This will also be reported back to the T2A alliance. With the Probation review being very much debated, this has given Peter more information first hand on the type of holistic services/ wrap around services that can be provided in partnerships with Probation.

The visit was arranged by the T2A Alliance and was hosted by Lorraine Preece Director of Operations and Business Development YSS, together with Manjinder Purewal, West Mercia Probation Trust Worcestershire Assistant Chief Officer and Phil Kendrick, YOS Performance Quality and Commissioning Manager, West Mercia YOS.


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