Effect of COVID-19 restrictions

For the new quarter of the year, April to June, the church has a new mission focus, which is New Leaf and Family Matters. Normally, we invite a visiting speaker to talk about the work of our focus one Sunday morning. Current restrictions mean that no church services can take place. So, while we have a speaker booked for all three morning services on 10 May, this may not be possible. We will review the situation nearer the time. Meanwhile, we offer this summary of New Leaf and Family Matters as a charity worthy of support.

New Leaf and Family Matters

New Leaf and Family Matters is a charitable project, within the Thames Valley Partnership, created to support offenders and their families from sentence to rehabilitation. It operates both as a contractor with the Ministry of Justice as the delivery arm of a consortium, a contractor with the Thames Valley Police, and as a private charity funded by grants and donors.

It has an enviable success rate, saving significant sums for the taxpayer and bringing positive outcomes for offenders and their families.

Family Matters works from the moment of sentence, providing information, support and resources through Court desks at Crown and Magistrates’ Courts, maintaining family links and relationships during sentence, through prison visits, maintaining contacts, and providing support services for those families in the community.

New Leaf provides a “through the gate” mentoring service to mentees when leaving prison at the end of their sentences. The mentees are risk- and needs-assessed during their sentences, matched with a suitable mentor and given a planned release package. This may include clothing (as prisoners are given back at release the unwashed clothes in which they arrived, regardless of the prevailing weather conditions), collection and being taken for breakfast, taken to their first probation appointment, and being given a community pack of essentials to tide them over their immediate needs post release. In the weeks that follow, the mentee and mentor will be in contact with such support, practical and emotional, as may be necessary. The provision is tailored to the particular needs of the individual mentee.

Recently, with funding from the Thames Valley Police, New Leaf has embarked upon a programme mentoring young people at risk of exclusion from school and those working with and supported by local Youth Offending Teams.

For further information, look at the website www.newleafproject.co.uk.