cell doorWelsh mental health charity Hafal has been awarded nearly £500,000 of Big Lottery funding to deliver a new project that aims to reduce reoffending in the South Wales Police area and ensure that vulnerable people with a mental illness get access to the support they need.

‘Out of the Blue’ will deliver a new mental health intervention for offenders receiving community sentences in South Wales to help to break their cycle of offending and support them to achieve recovery. It will run for 3 years.

The project is aimed at individuals who have been convicted of low-level, non-violent offending or those deemed suitable for a community service order with support, as opposed to a custodial sentence. Each intervention will involve a number of sessions with a Hafal ‘Out of the Blue’ worker to address previously unmet mental health needs, and work towards recovery and integration with the community.

The activities included in a typical intervention will include:
• An initial mental health assessment based upon known factors from discussions and liaison with other key agencies
• Development of a personalised goal-setting plan based on Hafal’s Recovery Model
• Delivery of a number of intervention sessions (individual or group) dependent on individual goals
‘Out of the Blue’ workers will ensure that, prior to sentencing, effective liasion with court staff and other supporting agencies will take place to assess the individuals suitability to participate

Hafal's chief executive, Alun Thomas, said: “We are delighted to receive Big Lottery People and Places funding for this important project which will tackle head-on the issues facing offenders with a mental illness. 

“Research suggests that a significant number of offenders carrying out their sentence in the community have mental health problems. ‘Out of the Blue’ will give them the support and tools they need to break out of the cycle of reoffending, achieve recovery and make a positive contribution to their communities.”

South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner, Rt Hon Alun Michael, said: “Reducing offending and reoffending has been my key priority for the whole of my career as well as in the way I approach my work as Police & Crime Commissioner. We know that violence and other crimes can be prevented if people with mental health needs get help quickly when they need it. That’s far better than having to pick up the pieces after the event while avoidable crime puts a burden on victims, the community and an individual who needs help. There has never been an area of our work when it’s more true to say that ‘prevention is better than cure’ for everyone, including the individual and their family. I am delighted that this grant will allow Hafal to contribute to this important work in South Wales.”