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Using the power of football to reduce reoffending

Exeter City's Troy Brown offers support to help turn prisoners' lives around

An innovative project, which aims to use the inspiration of professional football clubs to break the cycle of reoffending, is being delivered by staff at Exeter CITY Community Trust - Exeter's leading health and wellbeing charity.

A team from CITY Community Trust have been trained to deliver the pilot programme and have been working with inmates for the last seven weeks on the ‘Through the Gate’ offender intervention project. 

Jamie Vittles, head of community at Exeter CITY Community Trust, said: "Our work in the community is extremely diverse and it is incredibly rewarding to know we are making an impact on our city and our community.

"This pilot programme has focussed on four key outcomes; improving life skills, health and wellbeing, education and employment opportunities and understanding of crime and risk-related behaviours. Crucially the offenders are mentored by staff from the community trusts once they leave prison, or go ‘through the gate."

Exeter City defender Troy Brown and goalkeeping coach Chris Weale attended a session at the prison this week, where they took part in a Q&A session with the offenders and played a five-a-side game.


Chris Weale, Exeter City Goalkeeping coach 

Chris added: "It was a fantastic session, we’re both really pleased and proud to be involved with initiatives like this. The group were incredibly responsive, asking us questions about our careers, and seemed genuinely engaged in the programme."

The eventual plan is for participants on the prison courses to work towards a smooth transition to life on the outside at the end of their sentences, helped by prison resettlement services as well as the community trust mentors,who will continue to mentor and support them, just as they did in prison.

The eight-week programme has consisted of the following:

  • Classroom-based learning, education, employability, sports leadership and proprietary mentoring
  • Physical activity
  • Mindfulness sessions

For more information visit: exetercitycommunitytrust.co.uk

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