Project Strive Building Better Opportunities, breaking barriers to employment.

April 2018 Progression Report:

Remind me, what is Project Strive?

Since October 2016 HACRO has been a delivery partner for Building Better Opportunities, which is managed by Herts County Council and funded by the Big Lottery and the European Social Fund. Project Strive is the part of the programme which deals with the problems that stop disadvantaged people getting into work. HACRO has a specialist mentor to help ex-offenders get back to work.

How many people is HACRO working within Project Strive?

We’ve been working with 34 people. 21 of them were classified as “persistent and prolific offenders.” Since working with HACRO, 6 of them are no longer designated as persistent and prolific offenders. 17 of them have not re-offended at all since coming on the programme.

Why would people want to work with HACRO?

The first thing to say is that people in work are much less likely to re-offend. If you want to get your life back on track, getting a job is a good way to start. Project Strive helps towards that. Many of our clients don’t really want to engage with the Police or Probation, but they are prepared to engage with HACRO. We’ve also visited clients in prison at HMP The Mount and HMP Peterborough before they were released. So you can say we are trying to reach the hardest to reach.

What kind of training does HACRO provide through Project Strive?

15 of our clients have not got basic qualifications. Now 6 of them have level 2 qualifications in Practical Horticulture, and 2 more have qualifications in basic Maths and English.

What about work experience?

18 of our clients have not worked in the past 5 years. We’ve run “Taster Days” to introduce people to the world of work. We’ve run these in Plumbing and Tiling together with a local business in Hemel Hempstead. We’re laying a concrete foundation for a wooden building in South Oxhey, where we have other gardening work going on.

And jobs?

We are working closely with Blue Sky, the employment agency for ex-offenders, and refer clients to them. Since our last report, 3 have had job interviews. 1 has a job. And we expect another 1 will move into work next month.

Do you do anything about attitudes and behaviour at work?

Yes we do. Coping with stress at work and dealing with your feelings is difficult enough, but more so if you haven’t worked for a long time. We’ve tried to help by running an Anger Management course. And we work one-to-one with some clients as well. We’ve also run an activity to help people to de-stress by working out at a Boxing Gym in Hemel Hempstead.