Nationally, our work falls into two distinctive work streams:
Resettlement & Rehabilitation and Strengthening Communities.
RESETTLEMENT & REHABILITATION Work stream
The Resettlement & Rehabilitation work stream supports adult and young offenders, either on release from custody or in the community. Sova is best known in this area for providing strength-based mentoring that promotes sustained engagement with support services and involvement in the community, as well as promoting desistance.
Community mentoring is usually delivered by volunteers and occasionally by paid staff. A longer-term purpose of mentoring is to help individuals, whatever their circumstance or difficulty, create a stable lifestyle in which accommodation, employment, ties with family and friends, and a growing two-way relationship with the mentor can all play a part in improving their lives.
‘Through the gate mentoring’ services (such as when someone is released from prison), provide targeted support aimed at easing resettlement and reducing the risk of re-offending. Critical to the delivery of ‘through the gate’ mentoring is developing the mentoring relationship while the
offender is still in custody. Support is increased just prior to release and involves meeting the offender at the gate or at a first appointment and then supporting them through the vulnerable first days and weeks of release.
Also falling under this work stream is specialised support for offenders, including specialist employment support. Our experience shows that tailored employment support is a vital step towards entering or re-entering the labour market and is particularly important to reducing recidivism rates amongst young and adult offenders. All our offender employment projects work holistically with individuals to support them with issues that affect their behaviour and stop them from finding work. This means that we tackle issues such as managing money, addressing drug and alcohol problems or managing family relationships. We also support people to reduce the barriers to finding work by
developing good relationships with local employers and setting up work experience and volunteering placements. Our services include both case management (delivered by staff ) and mentoring services (delivered by volunteers).
Finally, we have a number of specialist services for specific groups of offenders (such as those with mental health needs, drug and alcohol issues and female offenders) providing bespoke models of
STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES Work stream
The Strengthening Communities work stream concentrates primarily on our work with children, young people and families who are at risk. The service is focused on prevention underpinned by the principles of mentoring and befriending.
Our services support young people who are at significant risk of offending, children and young people in and leaving care, and families known to social services and family intervention programmes. Our focus is on raising self-esteem and confidence and developing communication skills, supporting family relationships and positive peer relationships and providing a role model. When volunteers work with the older age range (16-18), objectives tend to focus on providing practical help to look for education, training, apprenticeship or work opportunities. Young people living independently may also need help with practical life skills such as budgeting or doing a weekly shop. Across all programmes there is an underlying process which supports increased confidence, self-esteem and positive decision-making.
Sova also delivers statutory services under the Strengthening Communities work stream which include Appropriate Adults and Independent Visitors services.
Finally, Sova delivers services aimed at strengthening families or local communities. Our programmes include: family learning; family support; employability support and activities; housing and tenancy support; and mediation. We have a range of training for both volunteers and service users.