THE FOOTPRINTS PROJECT
The Footprints Project mentors men and women who are leaving prison or serving a community sentence in the Dorset/South Somerset area. We aim to reduce the risk of reoffending by helping our clients to re-integrate into their local community. We offer a ‘through the gate’ service, meeting with them prior to and on release from prison. Mentors, who are made up of trained volunteers from the community, support and guide their clients, providing the assistance they need to live a meaningful life without further resorting to crime. This might include help in accessing local services, exploring employment/training prospects, and in many cases re-connecting with their families.
Our mentors maintain supportive contact with their clients for as long as it takes to establish them on the road to recovery and a crime-free life in the community. Some of our clients may then be keen themselves to offer their services by training as mentors and sharing their unique experiences with other more recent ex-offenders.
Footprints is actively involved in educating the public as to the difficulties that ex- offenders face when re-integrating following their release from prison. To this end, members of our staff are available to give talks to community groups and are actively engaged in interacting with other agencies within the Criminal Justice system.
In 2012, we initiated a new project specifically aimed at addressing the housing needs of men in HMP Guys Marsh, which has now been extended into HMP Dorchester. Our aim is to tackle perhaps the most difficult problem leading to reoffending.
Footprints was established in 2005 and has continued grow incorporating the mentoring of women in 2011, and in the same year was awarded the Approved Provider Standard from the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation.