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“From day one, everyone in the Thames Valley leaving prison should have access to employment, housing and support”

In the first of its kind in the Thames Valley, a one-day event is being held this month to see how organisations can collaboratively support people who are leaving prison and reduce reoffending.

Organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Aspire Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Partnership, the aim of the conference is to raise awareness, to inspire and to encourage collaboration between local stakeholders across the Thames Valley.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, said: “Collaboration is key when it comes to reducing reoffending, and we wanted to organise something which would have a positive impact for people leaving prison. We hope to secure ambitious pledges from delegates who attend the conference promoting collaboration, inclusivity, innovation and enterprise.

“The conference has been funded by our Violence Reduction Unit which looks at many different topics, one of which is reducing reoffending.

“We’re being ambitious with the event for the futures of ex-offenders – they can rehabilitate and give back to society, with the right support and opportunity. So far the reaction to this event has been unprecedented, and we are oversubscribed. It’s great to see that there are so many organisations in the Thames Valley who are passionate about supporting ex-offenders.”

Chief Executive Office of Aspire Oxfordshire, Paul Roberts, said: “We believe that, from day one, everyone in the Thames Valley leaving prison should have access to employment, housing and support. We want to encourage a community-led approach that supports and enhances the investment of public sector partners.

“We aren’t looking at this problem in silo any more but are encouraging relationship building at county and regional level so that we can have a positive impact on this part of our community.

“At Aspire we empower people facing homelessness, poverty and disadvantage to find employment and change their lives, for good. We’re thrilled to be organising this event and even more so at the response we have had.”

Chief Executive Office of Thames Valley Partnership, Nikki Ross, said: “We are really excited about the conference, which is being supported by the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, and the High Sheriffs of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. At Thames Valley Partnership we work to protect victims, support offenders and their families. We work with the statutory, private and voluntary sectors to provide long-term sustainable solutions to the problems of crime and social exclusion.

“There will be organisations from across the Thames Valley in one room which is really exciting, from the public sector to employers to housing providers, voluntary and community organisations, Government leads, academic experts and ex-offenders.

“We all need to take responsibility for reducing reoffending in our communities and hopefully this conference will be a good way for a mixture of organisations to work together and find solutions for common problems.”

The “From Day One: A Conference on Reducing Reoffending in the Thames Valley” event will take place on Monday 16th March at Blenheim Palace. The event is now fully booked but it is hoped that this will be the first in a series of events looking at reducing reoffending.