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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 virtual conference is being held to discuss 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 virtual conference is to raise awareness, inspire and encourage greater collaboration between local stakeholders across the Thames Valley. 

The agenda for the event, taking place on Tuesday 1 December from 9.30am – 1pm, is inclusive and enterprising. Speakers including Darren Burns, National Recruitment Ambassador for Timpson, Matthias Stausberg, Group Advocacy Director for Virgin, and Jude McCaffrey, Head of Housing for Soha Housing Association, will reflect on how a collaborative approach including employment, housing and support opportunities will enable an ambitious future for ex-offenders. 

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

“This virtual conference has been funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley. We are being ambitious with this conference for the futures of ex-offenders – we believe they can give back to society, with the right support and opportunities.” 

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive Officer for Aspire Oxford, 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 conference.”

Nikki Ross, Chief Executive Officer for Thames Valley Partnership, 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 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 virtual conference will be a good way for a mixture of organisations to work together and find solutions for common problems.”