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St Giles Trust Cymru

“Other services don’t offer what St Giles Trust does which is unlimited time and support with clients. They recognise it can take years for someone to turn their life around.” - Lee Dutton, former client and now Caseworker at St Giles Trust Cymru.

Funded through The Waterloo Foundation, Cardiff-based St Giles Trust Cymru started in 2013 and offers tailored support to people in the criminal justice system in Wales. We work closely with partners and agencies to ensure we are meeting local needs. These are diverse and distinct from England - including both rural poverty and deprived, inner city communities. The team possess a wealth of local knowledge and experience which has been essential in meeting these needs. It uses our peer-led approach of giving our clients the opportunity to train as professionals who can then offer support to others.

Work with offenders

From May 2015, St Giles Trust Cymru has been working under the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company, led by Working Links, to provide custody-based resettlement support in prison across Wales to help reduce re-offending.Our role is providing custodial-based resettlement services. The service offers prisoners help with a range of issues including housing, education, training and employment, advice with finances and debt and referrals to specialist services offering more targeted support. It uses our peer-led approach of recruiting, training and employing offenders in these prisons who support our resettlement teams and increase their own skills and employment prospects through their work. Community-based support is also offered to prison leavers and ex-offenders to help them resettle and prevent re-offending. This is typically around housing, welfare benefits and health. The caseworkers – with the support of peer mentors and volunteers -offer practical help and signposting to other support services following release in the community for as long as it is required by the client.

Working Out

This is a new service in Cardiff supported by the European Social Fund. Working Out utilises St Giles Trust’s award-winning Peer Advisor Programme to benefit local communities and enhance community services in Cardiff.

Working Out gives people in the local community who are former service users the opportunity to train as Peer Advisors through our accredited training programme. These are people who have typically experienced and overcome disadvantages such as homelessness, offending, mental health issues and substance misuse.

St Giles Trust’s programme of training and support offers them the opportunity to undertake paid placements with a local partner agency whilst undertaking the City and Guilds Advice and Guidance Level 3 qualification.

As well as helping to improve the employability and skills of the Peer Advisors, Working Out supports local organisations who benefit from trained, supported ex-service users who can offer highly credible support services.

Peer Advisors do not need previous experience but must demonstrate an aptitude for the role and be passionate about helping others who are in situations similar to their own prior experiences.

After initial recruitment, each Peer Advisor undergoes a 12-module ‘Learning to Advise’ course and support in their volunteer placement. Professional development skills are offered alongside ongoing coaching to develop employability. Training in skills such as IT, literacy and numeracy are also offered.

Preventative work

Gamechangers Cymru - Since 2015, we have been providing our Barclays supported Gamechangers Programme offering support to heavily disadvantaged families in Cardiff and the surrounding area of the city. The work supports families to overcome barriers such as housing problems, debt and long-term unemployment to help them move towards independence and employment. The service plugs a gap often left unmet by statutory agencies by offering intensive support to some of the most disadvantaged, complex families in Cardiff.