This page is here for archive purposes, to showcase CFO and European Social Fund (ESF) achievements between 2009 - 2015. For information on the latest ESF funded National Offender Management Service (NOMS) programme, please click here

Back on Track - October 2011

Back on track is a Greater Manchester charity which aims to change the lives of adults through the provision of education, work experience and mentoring opportunities. With extensive experience of supporting people with complex barriers to employment, such as those with a criminal record, substance misuse, mental illness, or those who are homeless, for example, the organisation offers highly personal programmes tailored to meet individual need, encouraging learning and skills development.


Back on Track

The organisation is a partner of the Achieve North West project, a consortium of five North West Probation Trusts, led by Merseyside Probation Trust. The project subcontracts to a number of organisations across the North West of England, such as Back on Track, to which case managers can refer motivated participants to support them as they make their journey towards employment. The project is co-financed through the National Offender Management Service Co-Financing Organisation (NOMS CFO) and European Social Fund (ESF) and aims to reduce rates of re-offending by encouraging progress into positive activities such as employment, training or voluntary work.

Back on Track supports around 900 individuals each year to move on from their offending past into education or work. Their success is due to the highly responsive and individualised nature of support available, with which participnats can engage in a number of ways.


Supporting offenders to volunteer

Voluntary work is a way for participants to:

  • have a positive work experience
  • get a reference
  • develop workplace skills
  • develop social and employability skills
  • gain confidence, social contacts and a positive routine

Since March 2010, Back on Track has supported 145 offenders to get experience of voluntary work, through several means:

  • Promoting volunteering as an option for offenders by collecting success stories and publicising these.
  • A weekly volunteering taster session at their training centre (every Friday). Participants can get a taste of volunteering in catering, painting and decorating, or office work.
  • Regular volunteering taster days across Greater Manchester, held in partnership with organisations which involve volunteers (for example conservation work).
  • Ongoing one-to-one support to help participants move into longer term placements.
  • Access to other training programmes offered by Back on Track.

Regular weekly taster sessions mean that participants can immediately start voluntary work, this immediacy helps with retention and participants feel involved and cared for. A mix of client groups adds to the community culture and encourages participants not to feel like an offender, but rather somebody who is there to give something back to the community.


Supporting offenders through mentoring

Since March 2010, Back on Track has provided informal mentoring support to 198 offenders on the Achieve programme.

Mentoring aims to help participants by providing:

  • Space to talk through issues
  • Regular contact to help maintain momentum
  • Support with attending appointments
  • Motivation to clarify own goals
  • Support to review progress

Volunteer mentors are inspiring role models to those on the programme, and the informal mentoring support offered enables participants to overcome barriers, helps to maintain motivation; and ultimately increases progression into positive activities. By making the distinction between the authoritative stance of the Probation Trust and support available through Back on Track, participants feel comfortable in seeking additional support.

More information on the Back on Track project can be found at ESF Works here.

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