PCC funds charity set up by ex-offender

25/06/2019

Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has funded Reformed East Sussex (RES) £15,000 to help them continue to support the rehabilitation of offenders and substance misusers across Sussex.

RES is working to tackle the problem of high rates of drug and alcohol abuse in towns across Sussex. What makes them so unique is that each support worker is able to draw on their own experiences of crime and addiction to help others build a brighter future.

Founded 5 years ago by CEO Charmaine Sewell, RES has helped almost 600 people with education, training and employment. Being no stranger herself to substance abuse and criminality, she knows firsthand the challenges of having a criminal record and the stigma placed on ex-cons.

She says: "There's a lot of people that want to change and want to make something of their lives. None of us wake up and think 'I'm going to be a criminal'. It's due to circumstances, addiction or environment. I have used my personal experience to lead by example. I try to empower people who feel ‘stuck in a rut’ to achieve positive changes in their lives through volunteering, training and employment opportunities.”

Funding is an ongoing challenge that local Community Interest Companies (CIC) like this one face. However, on Monday 24th June, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne awarded the project £15,000 to help them continue to expand this ground-breaking work.

Mrs Bourne says: "They're going to be working with men and women helping them find somewhere to live and helping them train to get new jobs. It’s really important that they then positively integrate back into society and become regular citizens like everyone else. This project aims to prevent re-offending and future victims. Here, they are working to break the cycle of offending behaviour and in doing so they are alleviating some of the strain placed on probation.”

RES has three employees who are ex offenders and/or substance misusers and are now leading fulfilling lives and working to support others.

Support Worker Daisy Croker says: “Coming from a background of drug and alcohol misuse, I wanted to make a big change and break the cycle. I believe employment is vital to encourage a brighter future, it deterred me from my issues and led me to be more focused and determined to help others succeed and fulfil their own destiny.”

Taking a proactive approach to securing the future of this CIC, Charmaine has also set up a cleaning business next door to its offices. It employs ex-offenders, and ploughs all the profits back into its rehabilitation work.

Find out more here: https://www.reformedeastsussex.co.uk/

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