Tom's Trust has made a contribution to SWITCHBACK, www.switchback.org.uk who are running a programme for 18-24 year olds involved in prison catering, to develop the confidence and skills to make a positive and sustained change to their lives.
75% of young adults leaving custody are back inside within two years. Before their release they will tell you with determination that this is their last time in prison. But once released, many find that they cannot succeed when they are left on their own with just £47 to last for the first few weeks. Switchback are convinced that there is a narrow window of opportunity to determine the future of these young people.
A full-time Switchback Mentor meets the young adult offender who is working in the prison kitchens and begins to build a positive relationship with them and help them plan for the future. After release, the same Switchback Mentor offers intensive support to the trainee as they move through training at the Skylight Cafe and eventually into paid employment.
Switchback are working with HMPs Rochester, Reading, Feltham and Aylesbury. They take referrals directly from Resettlement, Learning and Skills, and Catering departments. They are currently working with 31 trainees and can accommodate up to 40 trainees per year.