Overview of 2014-2015
2014/15 was again a challenging year as we have come to expect but with greater uncertainty, flux, change and higher stakes than hitherto known in the Criminal Justice system locally and nationally. We are inevitably buffeted as an organisation by the turbulence but we have tried to steer a steady course and maintain our sense of direction and purpose. Below are some of the highlights and achievements:
- Our main programmes have been sustained throughout this year despite considerable uncertainties and an inability to plan further forward while waiting for and anticipating the impact of the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) reforms
- Through negotiation we have become a strategic partner of MTCnovo the new owner of the Community Rehabilitation Companies in London and Thames Valley giving us the opportunity to influence strategically the development of offender services in the 2 areas
- Thames Valley Restorative Justice Service(TVRJS) has grown in 14/15 with 3 short term grants from the Police and Crime Commissioner
- Retention of our core funders, specifically Thames Valley Police and Thames Valley Probation for another year
- A further highly successful event was held in the House of Lords in October focussed on our Arts programmes with vulnerable women
- TecSOS has continued to grow steadily in terms of its reach into Police Areas nationally; now operational in 28 forces with 8 further signed up. Over 8000 victims have been assisted through the device since its introduction in the UK and an evaluation of TecSOS by the Met Police produced in December 2014 identified 7 victims who had been protected by the device from the most serious of life-threatening incidents
- The European RJ project ended successfully with an evaluation report and a dissemination event. It created a victim-initiated RJ Process which included the most serious cases. Presentations to RJ conferences in Barcelona, Oxford and Kiel set out the progress/outcomes of our work
- This delivery of RJ was in accordance with EU Directive and UK Govt Action Plan and progressed to a position unrivalled in comparison to our EU partners. 3 successful facilitated RJ conferences led to high levels of victim satisfaction and positively life-changing outcomes
- TVRJS succeeded with 3 bids to OPCC for interim RJ grants during 2014, including leading a consortium of agencies to develop restorative care plans including counselling services in Oxfordshire (Therapeutic Interventions & Restorative Approaches) for victims of serious crime
- In February 2015 we were successful in winning a 3 year contract from the OPCC, Thames Valley for delivery of Victim-initiated RJ services
- New Leaf undertook a second effectiveness review in Feb 2015 demonstrating improved reductions in reoffending and good value for money
- New Leaf was successful in recruiting/training new volunteers extending the current group to 60 and the reach into Berkshire
- Family Approaches Programme continued the delivery of court based services, increased work taking place with families in the community and continued to deliver awareness-raising training across Thames Valley. An independent evaluation produced in May 2014 highlighted the success of the first three years delivery of our new court-based work and our more fully integrated model of delivery
- Our Chair contributed to the debate in the House of Lords in July 2014 as a result of the briefing from the national ‘Families Left Behind‘campaign of which we are a member. Agreement has just been reached with HM Courts and Tribunal Service to distribute materials raising awareness of vulnerable family members to all courts in the country
- Family Approaches received £10K funding from Families First in Buckinghamshire to develop resettlement service for families work in HMP Woodhill, and more widely across Buckinghamshire and to grow and strengthen existing Family Matters networks into 2015. A bid for £75K to the Henry Smith Charity was also successful, securing the funding needed to sustain this programme for the next three years
- Modelling Change began offering regular creative sessions for girls aged 16 to 19 in Oxfordshire during autumn ‘14. 12 girls are registered; a regular core group of 6 turn up each week. An email network of over 80 organisations/people are kept up to date with the project.
- Art-i-tec project for vulnerable girls in Newbury ran during autumn ‘14 and spring ’15; a regular group of enthusiastic girls worked with 4 artists gaining the Bronze level Arts Award. They displayed their artwork at an exhibition alongside a performance piece by a group of boys.
- Visual arts sessions took place at Elizabeth Fry hostel funded by Reading Borough Council, led by 2 artists from Women at the HeArt project.
Chequers in Buckinghamshire, which since 1921 has traditionally been the country retreat for the Prime Ministers, opened its great doors on Friday 5th July 2013 to welcome guests of Thames Valley Partnership and New Leaf to a small fundraising event.
Guests were treated to a rare viewing of this beautiful house, with its many and varied historical treasures, which was offered by kind permission of the PM and Mrs Cameron to help support and highlight the work of the charity. The event was sponsored by Amey Plc. Visitors included supporters and volunteers as well as strategic or commercial contacts from across the three Thames Valley counties and some national. Musical entertainment from students at local Aylesbury Music Centre added to the occasion.
Shown with the Prime Minister from left to right: HH Christopher Tyrer DL (Chair of New Leaf Steering Group), Gillian Duggan (MD Built Environment AMEY), Patsy Townsend (Director of the Partnership) and Lord Ian Blair of Boughton (Chair of the Partnership Board of Trustees)