A new “One Stop Shop” project providing a range of support services to help those on probation from returning to a life of crime has opened in Guildford.
The joint initiative is being helped by funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner who have joined forces with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC) and a number of local partner agencies.
The scheme is open to people currently subject to community or suspended sentence orders and licences who can access free advice, information and support from a range of local services all under one roof.
The One Stop Shop is aimed at helping service users with issues such as accommodation, health, drug and alcohol use and employment.
It is being held at the Guildford Probation Office in Park Street once a month and the PCC David Munro visited the latest session last week to see it in operation.
Amongst those agencies taking part were Voluntary Action South West Surrey, National Careers Service, KSS CRC Education Training and Employment, Transform Housing, Catalyst, the Armed Forces Charity (SSAFA), Job Centre Plus, User Voice, Women’s Support Centre and Family Support Programme.
In January this year, the PCC created a new post within his office to focus on Criminal Justice and in particular reducing re-offending in Surrey. In addition, this year £250,000 was earmarked from the PCC’s Community Safety Fund to finance initiatives to support those aims.
PCC David Munro said: “Reducing re-offending in Surrey is a really important focus for my office so I was delighted to visit the new ‘One Stop Shop’ in Guildford to see it in action.
“This is exactly the kind of scheme that can support those who may have recently been through the criminal justice system and are trying to get their lives back on track. If it can help stop them drifting back into crime then the communities in which they live will also benefit.
“I was impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of those service providers I met who are really trying to make a difference and help some of those who have previously offended to make a fresh start.
“Often the needs of people on probation can be very complex so I hope giving users the access to a number of different services can help turn them away from committing crime.”
Cynthia Allen, Director of Operations for KSS CRC comments: “We have had a very positive response to the One Stop Shop from service users and we are grateful to Surrey’s PCC David Munro for his support.
“Many of our service users face complex problems which underpin their offending, such as homelessness, drug addiction or mental health issues.
“By supporting them to overcome these problems, we can help them turn away from crime and turn their lives around. Reducing reoffending benefits everyone, including the community, as it reduces the number of victims of crime.”