Specialist centre has opened to help ex-offenders break cycle of crime and prison

  • Run by the St Giles Trust a new specialist centre offering help to ex-offenders wanting to turn their backs on crime has opened in Dalston.

    The Elise Centre in Dalston Lane will offer practical advice and support to people looking for work and improving their skills and qualifications.

    It officially launched last Wednesday and guest at its launch heard first-hand accounts from people who had overcome many barriers to rebuild their lives, reports Hackney Gazette.

    One of these people included Frank Harris who spent decades in a trapped cycle of addiction, homelessness and crime, but has now put his past behind him and is studying criminology at university.

    "I'm now evolving as opposed to being stuck in a revolving door," he said.

    The centre opened six months ago after the transferral of funds and staff from ex-offenders support organisation Foundation Training Company to St Giles Trust.

    The charity has trained and continues to train people with convictions so that they are able to provide peer-led support for other trying to successfully rehabilitate.

    Rob Owen, the chief executive of St Giles Trust, said: "We're very proud to be able to make a difference in Hackney and look forward to helping 250 people turn their lives around this year.

    "We really appreciate the support we've had from the local community, local partners and funders of the service - especially our cornerstone funder The Big Lottery."

    The Trust aims to break the cycle of crime, prison and disadvantage and create safer communities by helping people to change their lives.

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