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Malawi Solar Lights
St Giles Trust

Charity Overview

St Giles Trust is a charity using expertise and real-life lived experiences to empower people who are not getting the help they need. Those held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues, helping them to overcome adversity through peer-based social action. The services they provide to 25,000 people every year include, help for vulnerable young people involved in or are at risk of criminal exploitation, services helping adults and young people facing unemployment and poverty, help for vulnerable women and families, prison and community-based support for people in the criminal justice system and specialist support for adults facing complex barriers.

Project Summary

A donation ICAP Charity Day 2018 enabled St Giles to offer a dedicated ICAP Education, Training & Employment Project, to support disadvantaged young people who are at risk or involved in the criminal justice system to turn their pasts into positive futures.  

We are extremely proud of the progress this young man has made. He has battled a lot, it has by no means been a smooth ride but through building a relationship of trust and engaging with our services Jason has made real steps towards a better future. We cannot thank ICAP enough for enabling us to support young people like Jason to turn their pasts into positive futures
Tsjanneke Hawkins – van der Cingel, Corporate Partnerships Manager, St Giles Trust

The young people supported by the project are experiencing severe disadvantage and many have a criminal record.  Unfortunately, possessing a criminal record significantly heightens the barriers they face to access education and employment. St Giles are aware that being employed is one of the most significant factors in reducing reoffending.  Yet young people with a criminal conviction face significant discrimination with 50% of employers reporting they would not consider employing an ex-offender (2016, YouGov). 

Thanks to the generous support of ICAP we have been able to help even more young people caught up in the criminal justice system to turn their pasts into positive futures. The young people we support have experienced severe disadvantage from a young age and face a number of barriers to gaining employment. The specialist support our caseworkers and Peer Advisors provide aims to break this destructive cycle, build confidence and raise aspirations so that more young people can achieve better futures
Rob Owen OBE, CEO, St Giles Trust

The support St Giles provides these individuals helps to overcome the barriers they face and gain access to education, training and employment. This support aims to help young people to escape the destructive cycle of offending, build confidence and grow aspirations for more positive futures for young people.

The ICAP Education, Training & Employment Project has supported 81 young people with experience of the criminal justice system to move away from a negative lifestyle and achieve positive outcomes. The project saw 36 young people achieve an education and training outcome, with an addition 21 young people transition into paid employment during some of the most challenging economic times. 

These young people have received personalised one to one support to help raise employment and education aspirations, alongside holistic support to address the complex issues many of these young people face from unstable housing to mental health support. This expert support is provided by caseworkers with direct experience of the issue’s clients face, they have turned their lives around and use this experience to help others now facing similar situations. This lived experience provides caseworkers with the cultural competence to engage some of the hardest to reach young people who struggle to engage with traditional services. 

One of the young people supported by the project was Jason, who at nineteen has already faced trauma and extreme challenges. Jason came from an unstable home; he suffered abuse as a child from his now absent father and lived with a mother contending with substance misuse issues. Jason himself suffered from PTSD having witnessed a close friend die and he himself being a victim of knife crime at a young age. Jason was previously involved in County Lines activity and was on a Youth Offending order.  He left school with no GCSEs or formal qualifications, and did not attend college which created a real challenge in his pursuit of paid work. 

When accessing St Giles’s services, Jason exhibited low mood, lack of confidence, lack of trust for professionals, hostility and low aspirations. They slowly established a support plan with small achievable goals. Support had to transition to virtual support during the first COVID lockdown; this delayed progress and affected Jason’s mental health. However, they increased the support, working towards better housing, providing emergency food provisions and arranged specialist support to address the PTSD, anxiety and depression he was experiencing. 

The St Giles caseworker has built a relationship of trust and they have worked together to complete his CV, write cover letters, create a professional email, attend virtual interview practice sessions and complete assessments for the Construction Skills Certification Scheme. Jason has now successfully received this qualification and is currently interviewing for a role in a construction firm.