Supporting local charities and community causes

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Helping to mentor young offenders

Young offender’s charity Trailblazers have received a £7,500 donation from The Shanly Foundation. Trailblazers are an independent organisation who undertake vital work to reduce the revolving door system of young people who reoffend and have four projects in Aylesbury, Wandsworth, Brinsford and Isis prisons where mentors work with young offenders aged between 18 and 25 years old.

Celebrating its 20th year, Trailblazers has a small team of five employees who work within the prison system to mentor young men to positively change their lives. A mentally challenging process, where mentors aim to improve the self-awareness, attitude and behaviour of the offenders, they begin work in the 3-4 months before their scheduled release and continue for up to 12 months post release.

John Shepherd, CEO of Trailblazers Mentoring said: “We were delighted to receive a donation of £7,500 from The Shanly Foundation to help support the vital work we do. Trailblazers has been mentoring young men in custody for twenty years and we are indebted to the support from a wide range of grant giving charities and foundations. For our work to be recognised by The Shanly Foundation means a great deal to us and this money will help to ensure that we can continue to make positive contributions to the lives of young men leaving custody, and to help set them on a life path free from crime”.

Weekly, hour-long mentoring sessions help to build up trust with the young people.  The mentees feel more comfortable and are honest with their mentee, largely because of their independence from prison surroundings. This powerful relationship hugely reduces their risk of reoffending. In 2016, the reoffending rate of offenders that Trailblazers worked with was just 15% compared to the national average of 56%.

Mr Shepherd has appeared alongside mentor John Owen on BBC One’s Victoria Derbyshire Show to promote the charity and increase the awareness of the need for both donations and volunteers.

Trailblazers has 120 volunteer mentors and expects 140 new young men to be reached each year.  

For more information on Trailblazers please visit trailblazersmentoring.org.uk