Lottery funding to help reduce reoffending

Written by
Alan Mairs
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Organisations helping ex-offenders to make the transition back to society and to help break the cycle of offending are being encouraged to apply for funding from the Big Lottery Fund. With grants of up to £1 million available over five years we can support a range of projects that address the connections between offending, addiction, mental health and homelessness. 
We know offenders, particularly those with a history of re-offending, have multiple and complex needs. Our funding can support those projects that put people in touch with a range of appropriate services that help them to move on with their lives. One example of this is the Positive Tracks project from Cornerstone Community Care which received an award of £669,769 from our Life Transitions fund in the summer of 2012. Positive Tracks support adults and young people with learning disabilities who are leaving prison to re-settle back into their in the community. Operating in the West and North of Scotland, the project provides a range of support such as securing a tenancy, finding and retaining work and helping people to access services related to a range of issues such as addictions mental ill health. 
And of course Sacro itself, in partnership with Shelter Scotland and Inverness Citizens Advice Bureau received £889,317 in October 2012 to provide much-needed housing advice and support for offenders who are liberated from prison and are not eligible for statutory support. This exemplar project works with prisoners and their families in Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness and offers joined-up support at times when it is most needed – times of transition. It also provides support with issues such as substance misuse which may be linked to cycles of homelessness and offending.
At the Big Lottery Fund we want to fund more of these types of projects that support people to move through often difficult transitions in their lives. This project is only one example of the types of activity we can fund and we are keen to help groups develop their project ideas.
It’s a great time to apply as there is lots of help available when filling in your application form. From talking through an idea from the outset to helping groups get their ideas down on paper the Big Lottery Fund tailors its advice to help groups put together the strongest bid possible. And you won’t be asked to fill in a full application form unless you have a high chance of success. You can even access funding to develop your project if your group needs it.
If your organisation has an idea for a project which supports those who are moving on from offending, you can contact the Big Lottery Fund’s Big Advice team in Scotland at or call 0300 123 7110 to chat through your project idea. 
You can also visit our website to find out more about the full range of Big Lottery Fund programmes.