Winners & team members photographed in Westminster Hall: (Front row) Beverley Brooks & Jo Sutton, Recruitment Junction; Barbara McDonough & Marie Petts, Inside Connections. (Back row) Edward Bowie & Samuel Warman, Belong; John Burton, Inside Connections
Lady Val Corbett, Founder of the Robin Corbett Award for Prisoner Reintegration:
“The winner of the 2022 Robin Corbett Award has a remarkable story. A former drug dealer and cigarette smuggler, John Burton came out of a 12-year prison sentence determined to change his life. Knowing the difficulty in reintegrating after release, he founded Inside Connections in 2017 which has since supported 520 returning citizens into permanent, sustainable employment in construction, fibre optics and renewable energies, all areas with well-documented national skills shortages. This year alone through Inside Connections 182 people have achieve qualifications (with a 98% success rate) and 145 have got permanent jobs. (You can see John in episode 2 of a Sky Documentary called Liverpool Narcos).
“Highly Commended winner: Belong is a charity which supports children, young people and adults in custodial and community settings with long-term, individual responses to conflict and crime. They use mentoring, creative psychotherapy, and restorative justice. In 2020-2021, they supported 2,335 people, working from within 9 prisons and young offenders institutions.
“Highly Commended winner: Recruitment Junction has a social heart on a commercial mission It is the only recruitment agency for people with prior convictions in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear. Their candidates are given all the necessary tools to get a job: online job search practice, CV, disclosure letter, interview preparation and outfit, right-to-work documents. This means they are positioned to find themselves work in the future as well. Recruitment Junction stats have helped 188 into employment with 86% sustainability and a mere 3% reoffending.
Kerryn Wotton, CEO of The Hardman Trust says: “We are so grateful to receive the 2023 Robin Corbett Award, recognising our work with people on long-term prison sentences. Our vision is a future where everyone can achieve their potential within and beyond prison, and we do this by supporting people on long sentences to plan for their life on release. We provide the financial support to turn that plan into a reality, and the ongoing support to stay on track after prison. Our support provides a bridge into employment, education and training, and supports positive transitions back into the community. We know that when we do this work, everyone benefits: the individual, their family, and the wider society. Thank you to the judges for believing in our work, it is an honour to receive this award in memory of Lord Robin Corbett, who felt as passionately as we do about the importance of rehabilitation, now and for the long term.”
John Burton, Founder: “I am delighted and excited about winning this prestigious award. A massive thank you to all the judges who can now see the great work we do in our communities and beyond. As a former drug dealer and cigarette smuggler, giving back is now my life and I know Inside Connections are going to keep growing stronger and giving more people better chances at life to keep them away from reoffending.”
Fadzai Dzimwasha, Head of Innovation and Growth: “We are beyond thrilled to be Highly Commended winners of the Robin Corbett Award 2023 for the work that we do at HMP Brixton to help prisoners to prepare for a successful life after prison. Having the judges recognise our work means so much to us. It means we can help even more prison leavers to make a positive contribution in their communities and reduce re-offending.”
Jonathan Taylor, Chair of Trustees: “We’re thrilled to be recognised by The Corbett Network. Our team work tirelessly to help returning citizens to change their lives for the better – to say they go above and beyond might sound cliched but it’s exactly what they do. We start with a job – to give people structure, self-esteem and earnings – and then build out from there to help people with every area of their life – housing, finances, family, health and wellbeing, and so much more. Spending a day sharing our approach and experiences with others in this field has been a pleasure. Thank you to all at The Corbett Network for championing what we do and truly believing in second chances.”
For more information on the Robin Corbett Award or the Start Up Fund, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!
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