Only a Pavement Away Launches “Back on Track” Prison Leavers Backpack Project

The Backpack Project, a new initiative from the hospitality sector charity Only A Pavement Away, will provide basic essentials and signposting careers in hospitality for people leaving prison.

Only A Pavement Away, the hospitality sector charity supporting prison leavers, veterans and those facing homelessness into employment, has been supported on this initiative by The Corbett Network, a prisoner reintegration service and The Right Course, an initiative run by Fred Sirieix.

The “Back On Track” Backpack project provides prison leavers with some of the basic essentials needed to immediately start looking for work such as a charged, pay as you go mobile phone, toiletries and access to support services including a free clothing service to support interviews. The essentials are provided within a robust rucksack, eliminating the need for a plastic bag, giving people more dignity and personal control over their transition to the outside.

“We’re committed to working with prison leavers to give them the additional support they need to find work on the outside and helping the hospitality sector to give someone a life chance and potentially, grow new talent, said Greg Mangham, Founder & CEO of Only A Pavement Away.

“At a very basic level, the Backpack removes the stigma of having your possessions – your life – in a see-through plastic bag. However, in addition it also provides some basic employment essentials and details of the information and support available from Only A Pavement Away and other related charities so help prison leavers begin again on the outside.”

“With just £76 in their pocket and a complex benefits system, it’s imperative that prison leavers get support quickly, have access to opportunities and employers willing to help them develop life and work skills so they can move forwards.”

“Getting a job and having purpose in life, gives people confidence, increases self-esteem and independence – and it reduces the likelihood of reoffending”, explains Lady Val Corbett of The Corbett Network.

The initial pilot will see 200 backpacks being distributed across 16 prisons, and it is hoped following this, the project can be rolled out across the UK. Only A Pavement Away is seeking hospitality partners interested in supporting the initiative as part of their ESG commitment to help leavers develop life skills, become job ready and provide them with a direct route into employment.

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