The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner is announcing a £200,000 scheme designed to get former offenders into work.

Waheed Saleem says the new programme will help break the cycle of crime by helping people set up their own business or find a job.

Mr Saleem wants the former offenders to turn their lives around and become taxpayers who contribute to society.

It’s hoped the initiative will save money overall as investigating crimes and potentially sending people to prison costs hundreds of millions of pounds every year in our region alone.

AVision for Empowerment CIC were successful in a competitive process and have partnered with People Plus and Ubique Partnerships to run the programme. It will see them work with those associated with criminality to get them into business or employment through bespoke mentoring and training.

The £200,000 programme spans a 2 year period and will see grants offered to get new businesses off the ground.

People will be referred to the scheme by the police, probation service and other partners and will receive mentoring from business specialists.

On announcing the providers for the programme, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem said: “If we truly want to break the cycle of crime we need to ensure that we give people the opportunities they need to thrive and contribute to society.

“Through this scheme we will be able to help former offenders build new businesses to support themselves and the economy. With the current economic outlook appearing gloomy as we continue to fight COVID-19 this is even more critical. New, exciting businesses are going to be key in ensuring that the West Midlands economy can recover.

“I am looking forward to seeing the progress of this scheme and with the two new providers, am certain we will see excellent results.

“Offending has a personal impact on victims and their families, but also costs the taxpayer dear. Instead of people being burdens on society, I want to see them contributing. That is what this scheme is about.”

Avril Grant from AVision said: “We believe in people, positive change, and effective rehabilitation.

“It’s meaningful for our service users to realise their own aspirations and visions. Each person’s story is different, which means their journey with us will be unique.

“This considerate model allows each person to receive the vital holistic support needed to sustainably achieve their own visions into entrepreneurship or their dream job, so they can become empowered.

“Many of our service users have the transferable skills needed for entrepreneurship, they just lack the support needed to get their ideas off the ground. We are pleased to be able to collaborate and to collectively provide them with the enterprise support they have been missing.

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