Project information

Women's Centre - Vision

Developing volunteering opportunites for women who have offending history or who are involved by association with offenders. This is part of our work in response to the Corston report, recognising that women offenders can often also be classified as victims and present complex vunerabilities.

April 2011 - March 2012

Charity information: East Lancashire Women's Centres

East Lancashire Women's Centres logo
  • Need


    Reducing offending behaviour, changing life chances for women who have often never worked and have no experience of the working environment. Often women have a history of abuse and have mild to moderate mental health problems with poor boundaries and low expectations of themselves or others. A majority are also parents themselves and the life chances of the children are reduced by maternal vulnerability. Women offenders struggle to access employment as they are unable to provide references.


    This work will give structure, build confidence and self esteem, develop autonomy and a sense of personal responsibility and improve life chances for the women and their families. Women will volunteer for 6 months after receiving support themselves. They will develop admin skills and access IT qualifications. They will be encouraged to offer peer mentoring to new women referred to the service. They will be supported in active job seeking skills and offered support into employment and beyond.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Recruit 10 new volunteers to the service with an offending history or who are at risk of offending


    » Publicise this new project through a launch event to service users, partner agencies and stakeholders.
    » Offer a full recruitment and induction programme for the volunteers delivered by centre staff.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...a full complement of volunteers who reliably and regulalry support the work of the centre.

    Aim 2

    Get 5 job outcomes for the women who access the project during the 12 months.


    » Develop an individual pathway to employment programme for each woman, identifying training needs and skills that will support them gaining work.

    What success will look like

    Success will least 5 women gaining employment from the project.

  • Impact


    Long term changes will be a reduction in reoffending rates of women in the locality and a tandem reduction in child poverty for the children in the families affected. This will be demonstrated through consultation and infomation sharing with local agencies, particularly the Probation Service.


    Risks are that women will not engage, that we will not receive referrals and that vulnerabilities will be too complex to support volunteering.
    We aim to mitigate these risks by continuing to work in partnership with stakeholders to receive referrals and offering holistic support packages to the women accessing the project.


    A quarterly report card format will give an overview of progress, identify risks and track outcomes.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £6,260

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,350 Salary Costs 10 hours per week volunteer coordination salary.
      £490 Admin Costs Stationary, photocopying and staff time involved.
      £420 Volunteer Expenses Travel costs payable
  • Background


    The project will be located within our existing centre located within easy walking distance of Blackburn town centre, close to partner agencies and close to the wards where the majority of the women accessing the service live. We have a range of 1-1 rooms, a training room, a drop in/creche and a general reception.


    Blackburn with Darwen is now number 2 in the list of most challenged unitary or metropolitan areas in the country scoring highly on the indices of complex deprivation. Any woman in the locality can benefit from our services, however this specific project will be aimed at women on a current offence referred from the Probation Service or women who are at risk of offending according to the Pathways to Offending model used by the National Offender Management Service.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only service in the locality specifically supporting this client group. We currently have 2 volunteers in the centre who have come through our Vision project where we casework with women offenders, This project has been specifically designed in response to the needs identified through this work. We need a targeted, focused approach where volunteering is seen as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. This is staff time intensive but gives robust sustainable outcomes

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Volunteer coordinator - part time 10 hours. To be recruited - possible from existing volunteers.

    Mel Honkinson

    Volunteer/ Social Work Student on placement. Will support the coordinator to recruit and retain volunteers.

    Sarah Swindley

    Manager - responsible for recruitment of staff , risk and safety concerns, reporting and monitoring and delivering sustainability.


Supports one women to volunteer for an afternoon.