PLIAS

Established in 2005, PLIAS Resettlement (Prisoner Liaison Information and Advisory Service) is a community-based charity serving clients in the Brent and Harrow areas. The agency works with offenders and ex-offenders to support their reintegration and rehabilitation back into the community. The Pilgrim Trust agreed to fund The Phoenix Project, to support and assist female Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic ex-offenders with mental health issues to overcome barriers to education, training and employment.

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PLIAS developed the Phoenix Project to deliver a programme for Black Asian and Minority ethnic female ex-offenders focusing on personal development, employability, vocational and ‘soft’ skills training, the service also includes practical advice with housing issues and money advice.

Demand for the Phoenix Project service has exceeded its original target and 25 women from the London boroughs of Brent and Harrow have been supported in its first year. With complex family situations, mental health problems and needs relating to substance misuse, many women have not had the skills, experience or stable circumstances to be ready for paid work. Despite these difficulties the project has enabled a proportion of the women to develop workplace skills and improve their future work prospects with voluntary positions in retail, nursery work and other community organisations. Other service users have been helped to develop their skills and move one step towards employment through accessing training and educational opportunities with some gaining experience and qualifications in basic core subjects such as English and ICT, as well as vocational courses in Health and Beauty, construction (CSCS) and catering,.

In the future the Phoenix Project will be running monthly workshops about self-employment and continuing to develop relationships with community organisations, employers and referral agencies.

Images with kind permission of PLIAS Resettlement (Prisoner Liaison Information and Advisory Service)