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


Projects aimed at improving employability are seen as key to changing offender's lives and reducing reoffending. Since January 2010, the NOMS European Social Fund (ESF) Co-financing programme has been working with participants who would benefit from additional employment and skills provision.

The NOMS ESF Programme aims to complement existing provision, particularly the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) in prisons as well as other existing employment and skills services.

Provider Report - North West and Merseyside – Women with Low Level Mental Health Needs

The prime provider, Merseyside Probation Trust, incorporates the sub-project as part of their wider Achieve North West programme in order to protect the participants from the label of mental health and the associated stigma surrounding it. Provision is based in a number locations including HMP Styal, Adelaide House and Edith Rigby Approved Premises and a number of women’s centres. Participants exhibit a range of very complex and challenging barriers including low self-esteem, confidence issues, childcare problems and instances of domestic violence. In order to help the women, Achieve North West offer a variety of services to these women to help stabilise their lives; support can include signposting to specialist services, peer/mentoring opportunities or confidence/motivation boosting sessions and workshops.

The findings from this research discussed how the provision was sympathetic and understanding in nature and how women’s specific provision was always sourced when possible. One of the core properties of the sub-project was that the provision was delivered on a local scale meaning that participants had access to whatever support they required immediately and were not required to travel. Particular success was found in the utilisation of women’s centres in the region, that were friendly and welcoming of the women, as well as the use of peer mentoring; for the mentors it boosted their confidence and for the participants it gives them a sense of comfort to work with someone who has had similar experiences to their own.

The report is available to read or download here: CFO Provider Report - North West and Merseyside

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