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Welsh mental health charity Hafal has been awarded nearly half a million pounds to deliver a new project which will reduce reoffending in the South Wales Police area and ensure that vulnerable people with a mental illness get access to the support they need.

“Out of the Blue” will deliver a brand new mental health intervention for offenders receiving community sentences to help to break their cycle of offending – and support them to achieve recovery.

The project is aimed at individuals who have been convicted of low-level, non-violent offending or those deemed suitable for a community service order with support, as opposed to a custodial sentence. Each intervention will involve a number of sessions with a Hafal “Out of the Blue” worker to address previously unmet mental health needs, and work towards recovery and integration with the community.

Hafal’s Chief Executive Alun Thomas said: “We are delighted to receive Big Lottery People and Places funding for this important project which will tackle head-on the issues facing offenders with a mental illness.

“Research suggests that a significant number of offenders carrying out their sentence in the community have mental health problems. “Out of the Blue” will give them the support and tools they nead to break out of the cycle of reoffending, achieve recovery and make a positive contribution to their communities.”

Rona Aldrich, a Big Lottery Wales Committee member, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales. It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.”

South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner, Rt Hon Alun Michael said: “Reducing offending and reoffending has been my key priority for the whole of my career as well as in the way I approach my work as Police & Crime Commissioner.  We know that violence and other crimes can be prevented if people with mental health needs get help quickly when they need it.  That’s far better than having to pick up the pieces after the event while avoidable crime puts a burden on victims, the community and an individual who needs help. There has never been an area of our work when it’s more true to say that “prevention is better than cure” for everyone, including the individual and their family.  I am delighted that this grant will allow Hafal to contribute to this important work in South Wales.”

The activities included in a typical intervention will include:

  • An initial mental health assessment based upon known factors from discussions and liaison with other key agencies.
  • Development of a personalised goal-setting plan based on Hafal’s Recovery Model
  • Delivery of a number of intervention sessions (individual or group) dependent on individual goals
  • “Out of the Blue” workers will ensure that, prior to sentencing, effective liasion with court staff and other supporting agencies will take place to assess the individuals suitability to participate.

“Out of the Blue” will be delivered in the South Wales Police area over three years.