Aspire Oxford are pleased to share our involvement in ‘Restart Thames Valley’ - a year-long pilot project aiming to work with over 350 prison leavers as they move on from Bullingdon and Bronzefield prisons.

The pilot project, funded by the Local Criminal Justice Board and the Ministry of Justice, will build on the experience of those currently leaving prison, those who have successfully resettled, and of frontline staff working to help people to maintain successful community reintegration outcomes, making use of ongoing Service User Forums to ensure support delivery and decision-making continue to be informed by direct experience of the criminal justice system. The project will also utilise learning from an independent review commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, exploring the work taking place to reduce reoffending at a local level.

Restart Thames Valley will support specific groups, including women and people serving short-term sentences, and will enable prison leavers to work with dedicated ‘Restart Workers’ prior to and post-release, for improved access to stable accommodation, mentoring, training, job readiness and employment opportunities, support networks and place-based community interest groups. Prison leavers will also benefit from ‘meet at the gate’ support, encompassing transport, accompaniment, advocacy, referral and smoother access to resettlement services.

Partners of the new pilot include the Probation Service, the Local Criminal Justice Board and a variety of voluntary and community organisations, with delivery led by Aspire - employing three members of the Restart Worker team - Browns Community Services, Connection Support, Parents And Children Together (PACT) and Thames Valley Partnership.

Matthew Barber, Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said of the new pilot project:

“I look forward to seeing the impact Restart Thames Valley will have to increase the chances for those leaving prison to lead a successful life with the right support.”