Saltbox began its work with ex-offenders in 2007 through the Restart Project. The service has grown supporting many individuals on their journey to independent living.
Community Chaplaincy was initiated over twenty years ago in Canada, to engage the Church in the offenders’ return to society. It spread throughout Canada, where it provided a professional focus for the Church’s work with ex-prisoners and their families.
Inspired by the Canadian model, the North Staffordshire Community Chaplaincy Project was launched in June 2004 by the Church of England’s Lichfield Diocese to cover Stoke-on-Trent and surrounding North Staffordshire areas.
As the work began to grow a new partner was sought who might help grow the service and Saltbox was approached. Saltbox took over running the service in 2007 and it was eventually renamed Restart. Since then the numbers of staff employed, the numbers of houses used and the numbers of clients supported have grown significantly.
Restart continues to provide supported accommodation across North Staffordshire to help ex-offenders break the cycle of re-offending and successfully re-settle and integrate back into community life. In many cases, we support clients that no one else will help. We recognise that our clients need to be given more than one chance to change and not be judged if they slip up along the way.
Many of our clients say that they don’t know where they would be without our service. This is because our team doesn’t judge, but cares and helps individuals to recognise their own potential and areas of their lives that they can change. We do this by not only providing a roof over their head, but by offering an individual wrap-around tailored service. Each client has a dedicated support worker who they can build trust and confidence in to help them along their journey.
Restart has a strong proven record that our approach really does work and makes a difference to people’s lives. Our next steps are to increase the number of people we can support and to further develop the client learning and development element of our service.