The Worshipful Company of Weavers Support Veterans In Custody Project

During the early part of 2017 the MCVC in conjunction with Catch 22 at HMP Doncaster explored the possibility of delivering a project for the veterans in custody which would provide comradeship whilst in prison as well as additional guidance and support prior to being released and upon release. The MCVC are extremely grateful to The Worshipful Company of Weavers who generously provided funding to allow the 12 Month project to go ahead.

From the very outset focus has been placed upon building strong, consistent and trusting relationships between the veterans and project facilitators. This is critical to making a positive change, preventing reoffending and improving veteran lives. The project facilitators understand the military background of the veterans, the challenges of rehabilitation they face and the vision needed to ensure brighter futures for them.

Weekly sessions are held with the veterans to facilitate open and honest discussions thereby allowing them to communicate their fears, anxieties and concerns in a secure and non- judgmental environment. From these sessions it appears that common problems for veterans appear to be psychological, emotional and mental health issues which can lead to criminal behavior.

A key aim of the project is to implement a cadre of Mentors who have previous military experience and a strong desire to support the veterans currently held in custody. They will provide excellent assistance with emotional and social difficulties faced by the veterans, this will be delivered in the planned ‘one to one’ meetings held with the prisoners.

The project has been in place for five months and a very stable and robust platform has been put in place. It is having a direct impact upon improving the lives of not only veterans themselves but visiting families and the custody staff. The close comradeship and welfare support provided by this project ensures the veterans are in a positive and engaging frame of mind which is reflected in the excellent feedback received from the veterans and staff of HMP Doncaster.

Jim Oaks
Veterans In Custody Project Manager
Rotherham MCVC