A website to help offenders connect with mentors and mentoring charities has been launched by the Ministry of Justice today.
The website, justmentoring.org.uk, which will be run by the Mentoring and Befriending Association, will also help former criminals interested in acting as mentors to link up with organisations where they can volunteer knowledge and expertise, the MoJ said.
The website has been funded with a grant from the National Offender Management Service, the MoJ agency responsible for commissioning and delivering prison and probation services in England and Wales.
The scheme forms part of Noms’ £1.4m Volunteering and Mentoring Grants Programme, which will run from 2011 to 2014, and which has funded eight different voluntary sector organisations "to develop an improved delivery infrastructure for volunteering and mentoring projects".
The MoJ was unable to confirm how much funding had gone to this individual project.
Jeremy Wright, the justice minister, said in a statement: "I believe a positive role model helping offenders on release from prison can make the difference between them going straight or committing more crime and being back behind bars within weeks.
"This hub will see more offenders linked up with quality mentors, which, together with greater supervision for our most prolific and chaotic offenders, finally will help tackle our stubbornly high reoffending rates, meaning less misery for victims and less cost to taxpayers."
Wright said the MoJ has also supported 200 organisations working with offenders to reach "approved provider standard’ with the aim of bringing greater quality assurance to the sector. The first provider, Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, will receive its certificate at the launch today.