Skip Content

19 Oct 2021

2021 Howard League Community Awards winners revealed

Successful schemes that reduce crime and transform lives for the better received national recognition today (Tuesday 19 October) as the winners of the 2021 Howard League Community Awards were announced.

The prestigious awards are presented annually by the Howard League for Penal Reform to people and organisations whose innovative work helps to make communities safer.

From a high-quality field of nominations, 40 entries from England, Wales and Northern Ireland were shortlisted for this year’s awards, giving them the chance to promote their work on the national stage. They tuned into a Howard League online celebration event this morning to hear the winners and commended entries being announced.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The Howard League Community Awards celebrate successful projects and pioneers who make our towns and cities safer by guiding people away from crime.

“This year’s awards are particularly important as they come at a time of great change, with parliamentarians currently scrutinising the biggest piece of sentencing legislation for two decades – proposals that will pile more pressure on prisons and do nothing to invest in community prevention or intervention.

“The success stories celebrated today are proof that we can change lives and reduce crime if we take the right path.”

Catryn Yousefi, Programmes Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The awards attract a flood of entries every year and, once again, it is striking to see so many schemes deserving of recognition and praise for their excellent work in the community.

“The range and diversity of the nominated programmes, each delivering services under such difficult circumstances during the pandemic, is remarkable.

“Every winner should be applauded for their best practice in encouraging desistance from crime.”

The ‘Organisation of the Year’ award was shared by two outstanding entries – Media Academy Cymru (MAC) and NIACRO. Since it was founded in 2010, MAC has guided more than 10,000 children and young people away from the criminal justice system by creating triage diversion programmes in Wales. NIACRO is a voluntary organisation based in Northern Ireland, which has been working for 50 years to reduce crime and its impact on communities. NIACRO supports children and young people; families affected by imprisonment; and adults in prison and in the community, including those who have been through the justice system and those whose lifestyles may lead to offending behaviour.

The ‘Women’ category was won by The Women’s Centre Cornwall for its Open Mentoring project, which supports women who have been involved in crime or may be at risk of becoming involved in crime. It gives a diverse group of volunteer mentors, who have faced and overcome challenges, the chance to inspire other women to move forward with their lives. All are trained in understanding trauma.

Sussex Police was the winner of the ‘Children in care and care leavers’ category for its Switch intervention programme. The project provides independent mentoring for young care leavers aged 17 to 25, who may be involved in violent crime, victims of exploitation or on the periphery of criminality and victimisation and at risk of entering the criminal justice system.

The ‘Policing and children’ category was won by the Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner for its REBOOT programme. The early intervention diversionary programme has supported almost 1,200 young people in its first two years of operation, with statutory services, private organisations and community groups working together to reduce the risk of them becoming involved in crime.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland won the top prize in the ‘Policing and adults’ category, for its adult deferred prosecution scheme, Cleveland Direct. The scheme seeks to reduce Cleveland’s high reoffending rates by addressing the behaviour of adults who have become involved in crime for the first time and diverting them towards support, away from the criminal justice system.

The ‘Restorative approaches’ category was won by Remedi for its Manchester Youth Restorative Programme. For the last two years, the Remedi team has been working side by side with the Manchester Youth Justice Service to use restorative practices and restorative justice to divert young people from the criminal justice system effectively.

The ‘Liaison and diversion’ category was won by Browns Community Services CIC, which supports single adults and couples with multiple complex needs, including those who are at risk of being involved in crime. Also involving the Safer Slough Partnership and Thames Valley Police, the service provides bespoke 24/7 support, tailored to the needs and circumstances of each person.

As well as honouring the successful projects, the Howard League presented Criminal Justice Champion awards to two outstanding individuals – Dr Kate Paradine and Steve Jones.

Dr Kate Paradine, Chief Executive of Women in Prison, has been a tenacious and fearless voice campaigning for systemic and policy changes affecting women in the criminal justice system. She has been at the forefront of putting pressure on the government to reverse its decision to build 500 new prison places for women. Alongside key partners, she co-founded a national coalition of women’s centres collectively making the case for sustainable funding for women’s specialist services and for establishing a women’s centre in each local authority area.

Steven Jones has been with restorative justice charity Remedi for almost 20 years, working as director for much of that time. The charity has expanded its portfolio of services during this period and is now the largest employer of restorative practitioners in Europe, with more than 120 staff and volunteers.

Winners and Commendations by category

Organisation of the Year

Media Academy Cymru (MAC)


Criminal Justice Champions

Dr Kate Paradine
Women in Prison

Steve Jones

Dame Vera Baird
Victims Commissioner for England and Wales

Children in care and care leavers

Sussex Police

Children & Community Resilience – Youth Justice Partnership and Children in Care Team
North Lincolnshire Council

A Protocol for London: Reducing Criminalisation of Looked After Children and Care Leavers
The Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime

Liaison and diversion

Browns Intensive Support Services
Browns Community Services CIC

Hub & Spoke Model – Supported Housing
The Well Communities CIC

Policing and adults

Cleveland Divert
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland


Employment Pathway
The Recruitment Junction

Policing and children

REBOOT Early Intervention Youth Programme
Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner

Calderdale Early Action Team
West Yorkshire Police

Creative One-to-One Early Intervention Projects
Synergy Theatre Project

Restorative approaches

Manchester Youth Restorative Programme

Dyslexia Behind Bars
The Cascade Foundation


Open Mentoring
The Women’s Centre Cornwall

Lancashire Women in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary

Women’s Pathfinder
Future 4

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  2. Howard League Community Awards are presented annually. More information about the awards can be found on the Howard League website at:
  3. Contact details for all winners and commended projects, and more information about their work, are available on request.


Rob Preece
Campaigns and Communications Manager
Mobile: +44 (0)7714 604955

  • Join the Howard League

    We are the world's oldest prison charity, bringing people together to advocate for change.

    Join us and make your voice heard
  • Support our work

    We safeguard our independence and do not accept any funding from government.

    Make a donation