The meeting facilitator was Paddy Stanley, CEO Mitie Foundation. Opening the meeting, Lady Val welcomed everyone especially new members. Unfortunately our speaker was unable to be with us through illness but she pointed out that meant having more time for other speakers!

Dominic Headley, Director DM&Co, talked about the recent Corbett Network conference – organised with NACRO and DM&Co – and the success it has spawned through networking at the event and also afterwards with the MOJ discussing CRBs, bank accounts and ROTL accommodation. (Details on the conference report)

Dominic also announced the Corbett Network Employer of the Year Award which will be presented at the House of Commons in March 2019 at the same time as the Robin Corbett Award. There will be two prizes awarded with plaques – donated by James Timpson – one for a SME company, another for a corporate. Only Corbett Networkers will be allowed to refer companies and there will be a subcommittee to vote on winners. More details nearer the time.

Then Val announced an tremendous new development for the Network. Professor Belinder Winder who was absent as she was at a conference in Canada, has established with the University of Nottingham a centre for rehabilitation. It is to be called the Corbett Centre for Prisoner Re-integration. This four-storey Grade II listed building is located in the centre of Nottingham, close to a tram stop and very convenient for Nottingham station. Belinda has described the Centre’s aims. They are:

- To support prisoner reintegration
- To prevent reoffending and reduce recidivism
- To support prisoner wellbeing and help ex-prisoners lead positive and purposeful lives
- To prevent sexual harm and victims of sexual abuse
- To produce robust research and evaluation that measure the impact of the CC (and everything offered therein) and directs future policy around service users and approach to crime and reoffending
- To provide a safe space for members whereby they can relax in an informal environment and escape the stresses of everyday life
- To provide a range of support and interventions for members - such as therapeutic, counselling, employability and business support, social and life skills

“We would be delighted for CN members to utilise rooms in the CC for meetings, workshop or training delivery, outreach work, consulting with service users. We have a dedicated training room. We would want to be able to provide what we can for the members and would be able to offer space free (though of course, if people could - over time - build in costs for us, that funding would go into the running of the CC).

“We will have a CC manager plus administrator - and we have a researcher (fully qualified researcher on ROTL from HMP Sudbury), plus we have several Safer Living Foundation staff running eg our Prevention project in there - and we would have some volunteers helping to run the CC too. There are computers, a printer, a kitchen etc already in the CC.

“We have had requests from Lincolnshire Action Trust and HMP Brixton asking if we could start CCs in Lincoln and London!! We are developing start-up toolkits in case other charities want to take the ideas and run with them. We will wait to bed in the first Centre though!

The launch is set for 13th February (with a CJ symposium in the afternoon (to which everyone will be invited)”. Photos below show one of the rooms and the training section.

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One of the rooms in the new Corbett Centre - used for office work and also conversations - there are more on other floors

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The dedicated training room available to Corbett Network members

Then Jacob Hill, a new member, told of his experience in talking at the Conservative party conference. This was arranged via his local MP and Jacob expected to be at a fringe meeting. Instead he was on the main platform and after his talk had to introduce David Gauke, the Minister of Justice! Jacob – son of a mother who is a sergeant in the Police Force and a father who was involved in drugs investigation – was imprisoned for 28 months for drug offences. His message to the conference was that there had to be far more emphasis on rehabilitation. He served 9 and a half months then was on licence for the rest. During his time in prison he developed the social enterprise Offploy which offers support to help businesses recruit and mentor people with criminal convictions into meaningful, mentored, sustainable employment.

After this Francesca Findlater facilitated a discussion about Dynamic Purchasing System, a new initiative from the MOJ for Prison Education Frameworks which is causing concern. Fran (Bounceback), Chris Horton (Novus) and Penny( Standout) together with others like Jane (Clean sheet) and Heather (Beating Time) will be having a separate meeting and will report back.

The meeting then concluded leaving 45 minutes to network. The facilitator announced that members should talk to people they did not know and this worked very well.

We would like to thank our host Richard Paice, CEO The Exceptionals, for the bubbly which certainly sent a sparkle around the room and for his kindness in allowing us to use his home.

Our next meeting will be around early April, date to be confirmed.