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2020 Community Awards Winners

The Howard League Community Awards were presented at an online event on 20 October 2020.

Winners and Commendations by category

Restorative approaches


Make Amends – Shekinah Mission 

Make Amends is a restorative justice service delivered in partnership with Shekinah and commissioned by Office for Police and Crime Commissioner (Devon and Cornwall).

The service provides restorative justice alongside the formal justice system through the police, probation and prisons as well as a less formal community restorative approach dealing with ant- social behaviour, diversionary schemes, neighbourhood disputes and family relationships in conjunction with children’s services and other statutory and voluntary services in the area.

Make Amends provides support to those who have been affected by crime, conflict, anti-social behaviour or harm caused by the actions of others, and contractually delivers all restorative justice interventions for offences which have occurred in Devon and Cornwall where any victim or offender requests the service, as well as undertaking restorative interventions that form part of any out of court disposals such as community resolutions or the Pathfinder deferred charge and caution schemes.

Make Amends has a team of highly trained 5 Practitioners and approximately 20 volunteer restorative workers. The team is able to efficiently deliver restorative justice to local communities and partnerships – this addresses the challenges of delivering a consistent a high-quality service across a large, disparate and largely rural geographical area.


Itsup2u – CELLS project CIC

CELLS is a nationally recognised organization that has multiple awards including a recent Queens award for enterprise in Improving Social-Mobility of Ex-offenders and victims. We tackle crime with pro-active and reactive approaches, delivering proven and effective interventions that address initial and re-offending behaviour via preventive awareness, diversionary programmes and follow-on support. CELLS main priority is to challenge children and young people’s (CYP) perceptions of crime and ASB. CELLS secondary purpose is to support ex-offenders (many prolific re-offenders) who seek rehabilitation through restitution and victims of crime seeking reintegration.

Itsup2u offers probation, YOT’s, CRC’s and other rehabilitation organisations placements with CELLS and our network of partners as part of restorative justice. Ex-offenders don’t join the-CELLS-team as a punishment, they want to give something back. This includes working with victims, aiding their recovery and developing an understanding of offending behaviour. The openness and honesty from the team inspires youngsters who are facing issues the workshops bring up, to come forward and gain further support to overcome the problems that trigger offending behaviour.

The children and young people CELLS work with are disadvantaged and excluded, often with complex needs and deemed the hardest to engage, often peripheral/active offenders seeing crime as a viable career option.

Policing and children


Drug Diversion – Thames Valley Police 

Thames Valley Police serves the communities of Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Working in partnership with local statutory and non-statutory organisations, specifically West Berkshire Council and public health, The Edge young persons’ substance misuse service and West Berkshire youth justice team and individuals with lived experience, collaborating with drug Policy experts we are proud to have developed Drug Diversion.


Early Intervention Team – West Yorkshire Police

The West Yorkshire Police Early Intervention Team (EIT), Calderdale District have been an established team for approximately 18 months. This was part of an effort to provide an earlier action response to youth crime, anti-social behaviour and young people going missing in the area. The EIT work collaboratively with partners such as children’s social care, youth justice service and the liaison and diversion service to help divert young people away from the criminal justice system. We work to the ethos of ‘seeing the child, not the crime’ and aim to try and tackle the underlying cause of offending, not just the ‘symptoms’.

We produced educational packages around varying risks around knife crime, consequences of crime, cyber Crime, internet safety, missing etc. We adapt presentations to deliver to individuals, small groups and larger assemblies.

So that schools can still provide the inputs on the above topics during the pandemic, we have developed a website and created video presentations schools for them to use.

The education inputs are also delivered during activity sessions i.e. bush craft, climbing, mechanic courses, photography, fishing, canoeing etc. with the police Early Intervention Team at our Sunny Vale Activity Centre or 3rd sector activity providers.


North Lincs Early Intervention Team – Humberside Police

Neighbourhood Policing & Early Intervention

The importance and benefits of early intervention is recognised and its benefits supported through the neighbourhood policing team covering town and Crosby & Park of Scunthorpe. We have staff who have had additional training to support young people and their families. The child is always at the centre of what we do and we work with the family and child as a collective. Our work is guided through the partnership Early Help Assessment (EHA).

Over the past 3 year’s experience we have learnt –

  • Under 13’s benefit and maintain the biggest drop in crime and anti-social Behaviour
  • Those without intervention continued offending at a level of 5 times
  • Projected offending with those worked with was 37 crimes, our cohort committed 13
  • Saving over £25k in police investigations based on criminal damage
  • Saving over £93k to the whole criminal justice system
  • 13 less victims of crime
  • Working with primary schools to identify children at a younger age to target and work with into secondary education.

Policing and adults


Domestic Abuse Follow up project – Humberside Police 

The Bridlington Early Intervention Project was commissioned towards the end of 2016 by Humberside Police in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC). The scope of the project was to explore how agencies could work more effectively together to reduce demand on frontline services, ensuring people feel safe, are safe, and improve future prospects.

The project aimed to understand the link between vulnerability within the community and the demand on frontline activity. Although the project focused on a range of presenting issues, it became apparent over time that domestic abuse was a recurrent theme in many troubled families.

In March 2018 a target cohort for consideration emerged comprising of individuals experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse who had previously refused, or were unable to engage with, existing support services presenting a group for whom there was a gap in existing provision which this project then sort to address.

Liaison and diversion


Birmingham & Solihull Liaison & Diversion Team – Birmingham & Solihull Liaison & Diversion Team 

The Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion service are a specialised team provided by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) to work within police custody suites, Courts, Prison and the community.

The team consists of Allied Health Professionals, Support Time & Recovery workers (STR) and peer mentors, who assess vulnerable individuals with complex needs who are being brought into the criminal justice system having been accused of criminal activity.  These needs include, but is not limited to, support with mental health; a learning disability; substance misuse; homelessness; financial needs; and or social difficulties.

We also aim to improve liaison between the criminal justice system and health and social care agencies.

The service provides early intervention and aims to address health and social inequalities in order to reduce criminality and re-offending behaviours.


Getting it Right: Liaison and Diversion Services for young people – Peer Power Youth

Peer Power is an empathy-led charity that helps to heal trauma and adversity through caring relationships, and partners with young people to transform youth service systems.

Some of the children, teenagers and young adults we partner with have described themselves as being ‘abandoned by society’. They may have experienced injustice and inequality, childhood adversity, abuse and trauma. We support them in healing and finding the power and positivity in their stories, creating ways for them to be heard and influence action. We work with them as they develop the skills, experience and training to become future leaders. Together, we support those delivering, designing or commissioning services across the youth sector – including youth justice services, health services, prisons, police, social services, schools and more – to embed the empathic and participatory approaches that are so needed.

Our vision is world where empathy-led services and systems support all children, teenagers and young adults to achieve their dreams and lead their best lives.

Our mission is to be a caring support network for young people, helping to change their lives through trusted, healthy relationships so they can change and inspire the lives of others and increase empathy in the services designed to help them.


St Giles’s Emergency Department/Trauma Centre Intervention Service – St Giles

ST GILES is a charity using expertise and real-life past experiences to empower people who are not getting the help they need.

People held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with addiction or mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues and others.

We show people there is a way to build a better future – for themselves and those they care about -and help them create this through support, advice and training.

We want to see a society where everybody – no matter what their background – has a positive future.

Last year (2019/20) we helped over 20,000 people offering services aimed at helping them overcome any issue which might be holding them back. We offer practical support around:

  • finding work and training,
  • sorting out housing,
  • ensuring people have access to affordable nutritious food,
  • helping with finances and debt
  • helping them access other services.

Underpinning all our services is the ethos of using professionally trained people who have been there themselves.

Women category


Sunflower Women’s Centre – Trevi

Trevi is a leading women’s charity based in South West England. We provide safe and nurturing spaces for women and their families to heal, grow and thrive.

Our vision is for a society where all women in recovery can access good quality, psychologically informed, gender-based interventions so that they can move forward in life.

We run three centres:

  • A residential rehabilitation centre exclusively for mothers and their children
  • A Sunflower Women’s Centre in the community
  • Daffodil House, a residential family assessment centre

In the 27 years we have been operating, we have helped transform the lives of thousands of women and their children. From rehab and health to housing and employment, we help any woman in recovery move from “surviving” to “thriving”. The experience of the women we support informs everything we do; from the services we provide to our influencing and campaigning work.


New Chance – Office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (in collaboration with Anawim, Black Country Women’s Aid and West Midlands Police)

New Chance

New chance is a specialist project for women (18+) who have been arrested and identified by West Midlands Police (WMP) as someone who would benefit from extra support. This would be as part of a conditional caution, community resolution, or voluntary if they are charged or the case is NFA’d. This programme uses a whole system approach to divert women away from the criminal justice system at an early stage and recognises the variety of vulnerabilities these women may be facing.

It enables women to address the reasons for their offence in a safe environment, avoid a criminal record and receive the support they need to live a life away from crime. Support is trauma-informed, based on the nine offending pathways for female offenders and is delivered by a dedicated case-worker. New Chance offers one-to-one support, group work, advocacy and the provision of information and advice; from supporting women with their benefits; dealing with childhood trauma; domestic violence; and sexual violence to supporting women into employment.

A recent evaluation by the University of Birmingham demonstrates that reoffending amongst New Chance service users with mental health issues was 35-37% lower and those who had substance misuse issues identified had a 51-55% decrease in reoffending.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner 

The Office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner supports the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, who is elected to make sure West Midlands Police is run effectively, reduce crime, and improve services for victims of crime in the West Midlands. The PCC acts as the voice of its people, holding West Midlands Police to account and ensuring they are answerable to the communities they serve. The PCC decides what the force should be focusing on and prioritising, as set out in the Police and Crime Plan. The PCC also brings together community safety and criminal justice partners to collaborate and coordinate to tackle crime and support victims. The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner recognises that to reduce crime in the region we must understand the complexities, drivers and root causes of offending behaviour and address this in order to effectively reduce reoffending. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner prioritises partnership working, such as in the case of New Chance, to provide the most effective and impactful programmes based on the needs of the people of the West Midlands.


Dorset Female Out of Court Diversionary Scheme – Footprints Project Ltd and Dorset Police

The Footprints Project exists to build safer, stronger communities across Hampshire and Dorset. We support over 200 people a year with:

  • Volunteer led ‘through the gate’ and community mentoring of people who are, or will be residing, in Dorset and Hampshire
  • Specialist female only support for women including our Out of Court Diversionary Scheme in conjunction with Dorset Police and PCC
  • Crisis support for people residing in Dorset on the day of release from prison at the CRC Hub in Bournemouth
  • Support for people classified as high risk of harm to the public who are residing at Approved Premises in Hampshire
  • Provision of training, volunteer opportunities and work experience.

Children in care and care leavers


Norfolk Multi Agency Approach to Reducing the Criminalisation of Looked after Children – Norfolk Constabulary, Youth Offending Team, Children’s Services

Our partner organisations established that a focus was needed to reduce the criminalisation of looked after children in Norfolk and wrote and implemented a Decriminalisation Protocol.

This highlighted the challenge of recognising and minimising pre-existing risk factors that place looked after children at greater risk of offending, along with the need to protect them from a disproportionate response from the criminal justice system.

Working practices across the agencies were re-evaluated to identify significant change points, with an emphasis on every professional needing to avoid unnecessary criminalisation and working together with a clear restorative focus.

Wider awareness raising and evaluation was key to our continued approach, with expansion of our focus to care leavers, and linking with associated multi agency workstreams to enable a stronger response.


Young People’s Circles of Support and Accountability Project (South West England) – Circles South West Youth

Circles South West uniquely provide Circles of Support and Accountability (‘Circles’) across South West England for people who have sexually offended and/or with harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). Our vision is ‘No More Victims’ of sexual abuse. We work in close partnership with public protection agencies (police, probation) and other relevant statutory organisations (social care, YOT, health).

A ‘Circle’ is a small group of carefully selected, trained, local volunteers who provide an individual young person (‘Core Member’) with a supportive social network for 12 months, holding them to account for their behaviour. An individual support plan includes community activities and risk management plans. Circles facilitate trusting, supportive relationships between volunteers and young people, helping them to develop pro-social identities, feel less isolated and more socially connected, and contributing to improved outcomes. Circles meet frequently, helping to meet the young person’s basic physical, emotional and social needs, by role modelling healthy, pro-social behaviours so that young people feel valued, are supported developmentally, and learn how to build “social capital”, the most important aspect identified in desistance.

“I think my Circle has helped me…it’s helped develop my social skills….. it’s useful” Young Person.


Drive Forward Foundation Policy Forum’s campaign to ‘decriminalise care’ – Drive Forward Foundation

Drive Forward Foundation supports care-experienced young people into sustainable employment, training and education. We also facilitate a ‘Policy Forum’ of over 50 care-experienced young people whose mission is to bridge the disconnect between care leavers and policy makers. In 2019, the group campaigned to ‘Decriminalise Care’, using their own experiences to shed light on the unnecessary criminalisation of children in care. In September 2019, young people on the forum ran an event at City Hall in London in which they shared their lived experience of care and contact with the police via panel discussions, speeches, and their own short film. The event culminated in a speech from Sophie Linden, the London Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, in which she agreed to the forum’s key ask: to implement a London-wide multi-agency protocol to reduce criminalisation of children in care. Just over one year on, members of the Policy Forum continue to work closely with the Deputy Mayor’s office, the Metropolitan Police and other agencies to write and implement the protocol.


Youth Justice Voices – Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum) and CYCJ (Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice)

Staf, formerly the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum, was formed in 1998 and is Scotland’s national membership organisation for all of those involved in the lives of young people leaving care.

Staf is the only membership organisation for frontline workers and managers focused on throughcare and aftercare of young people from a care-experienced background.

We have a significant track record of working with partners to deliver projects and programmes which improve outcomes for care leavers across Scotland. We have 70 members and over the last 5 years we have successfully co – designed work with young people which aims to raise their voice and give this weight. We have worked in partnership with CYCJ to deliver Youth Justice Voices since 2019.

The Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) is an improvement organisation hosted at the University of Strathclyde with a focus on ensuring that Scotland’s approach to children and young people in conflict with the law is rights-respecting and improves outcomes for children, young people and communities.

Criminal Justice Champion


Emma Jones – The Include Hub

Emma has been working within the criminal justice system in Wales for nearly 15years. Her professional career began as a trainee Psychologist (HMP Swansea), in 2008 she left to join Gibran to get hands on in the third sector, where she has remained ever since. Emma began working with women in the CJS in 2008, and has remained a key individual developing and delivering services for women, projects include the collaboration with Swansea University, ‘Sex Work Research Wales’ and she was the first provider of the ‘Women’s Pathfinder’, both have left legacies and continue to make a huge impact. Emma has worked towards system change and being person led for many years, recruiting a team of support staff and volunteers with lived experience. Emma built on the experiences of the women and men she has worked with and has secured over £4million for services in communities. These projects have supported and changed the lives of around 5,000 individuals, not taking into account the families and children who have also benefited. The culmination of years of experience has resulted in opening the Include Hub (Lottery Funded), a drop-in service with a difference, that has over 1000 members since opening its doors late 2017.


Sofia Buncy – Muslim Women in Prison Project (Khidmat Centre) 

Sofia is the UK’s leading practitioner and thought leader on Muslim women in the CJS. Her career began as the ground-breaking researcher of ‘Muslim Women in Prison – Second Chance: Fresh Horizons’ (2014) the first ever report written into the experiences of Muslim women in British prisons. This won Sofia a coveted Butler Trust award (2017).

Furthermore she is the architect behind the report ‘Invisibility’ as well as ‘Sisters in Desistance’ (2019).The latter is based on a purpose built re-entry model which Sofia and her team developed at the Khidmat Centres in a bid to demonstrate a culturally & faith informed resettlement model.

Sofia has submitted evidence to landmark reviews such as The Lammy Review and Farmer review. Until today, she continues to work across the vast space of prisons, community and research to document practice around equality. She has recently entered her first academic collaboration with 2 northern universities while continuing to work alongside sector specialists such as Zahid Mubarak Trust throughout Covid19 to document the experience of Muslim women prison leavers and families.

There is no doubt without Sofia’s dedication and relentless championing the issue of Muslim women prisoners would remain a ‘blind spot’ within the CJS at every level.

Organisation of the year



GamCare is a leading national provider of free, information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling-related harm. GamCare contracts a number of treatment providers to enable a national delivery model. The organisation and its partners have been working in, and alongside, the CJS for several years to develop support for gamblers who have entered the system. However, provision is patchy and does not receive dedicated criminal justice funding. Recognising an increasing need to support gamblers within the CJS, alongside emerging research about crime and gambling, GamCare began a programme of work in 2018 to explore, raise awareness of, and promote cross-sector thought leadership on the issue.

Eighteen months on, we believe GamCare has made significant impact in this area by raising the profile of the issue, gathering learning, and informing best practice. This has been achieved through two key workstreams: (1) GamCare’s Hertfordshire Problem Gambling Project, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, and (2) GamCare’s wider CJS and Gambling Harm development work. This developmental work is unique to both the gambling treatment sector and the CJS; whilst pockets of work have been taking place, we believe we have achieved learning on a ‘whole-system’ basis, which we are now beginning to utilise nationally.


The Skill Mill 

The Skill Mill is a social enterprise providing employment for young ex-offenders (158 to date), actively reducing reoffending (9.5% re-offending rate to date) whilst increasing engagement, participation, employability and educational levels of the young people to increase their life chances.

The stigma attached to having a criminal record, lack of previous opportunity and the negative societal attitudes towards children who have committed offences creates enormous barriers for children. Often even with the best will in the world children are unable to access education, training or employment opportunities which are vital to helping them move forwards with their lives. The Skill Mill removes these barriers and enables them to gain work skills, knowledge and importantly confidence.

Children undertake accredited training and achieve a nationally recognised qualification. They acquire knowledge and skills by working alongside local private contractors and partners. Follow on employment opportunities with partner organisations and the wider labour market are sought for each employee and support towards this goal is provided from the outset.  Each cohort receives six months paid employment, invaluable practical real work experience, a nationally recognised qualification, and further opportunities for progression with local companies at the end of their time with The Skill Mill.

Shortlisted projects

The list of the shortlisted projects can be found here.

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