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  West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project

Another of the organisations St. Chad's has chosen to support through its charitable giving is the West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project. (WYCCP) This is a multi-faith project helping to reduce re-offending by the prisoners of the all male prisons in Leeds: HMP Leeds and Wealstun.

WYCCP helps to reduce re-offending by supporting men in the community following their release. It particularly supports offenders serving less than twelve months who have limited access to statutory support and who tend to re-offend regularly.

A 'through the gate' organisation, WYCCP workers visit men inside HMP Leeds in order to do an initial assessment of their needs and then to begin to build a positive relationship with them. Ideally WYCCP see men 3 months before their release. They then aim to keep in touch during the period leading up to release, and can meet prisoners at the gate as they leave the prison. Once released a member of WYCCP staff, or one of its highly trained volunteer link workers, continue to offer advice and support during the following critical weeks and months.




Throughout the process, the WYCCP service user will identify the areas which are significant to them in helping to maintain a crime-free life. The areas of support often include sourcing accommodation on release, helping to register with a doctor or dentist, accompanying service users to appointments: for example, for psychiatric assessments, assistance in completing benefits forms, liaising with statutory agencies, like the West Yorkshire Probation or the NHS on behalf of service users and giving advice and support in accessing training and employment.

This is done in close partnership with any other voluntary community and public sector bodies involved in the service user's resettlement.

WYCCP's service users mainly self-refer and are keen to make changes in their lives; the non judgemental practical support and encouragement is effective and currently only 34% of men on WYCCP books are reconvicted after one year, this compares with an average re-conviction rate of 64% for HMP Leeds as a whole.

With a team of ten full and part time staff and around 15 volunteers, Kelly Manton, office manager is the first point of contact for information. .

Tim Ward