The Lantern Trust – Ex-offenders Resettlement Project
The Lantern Trust has been offering housing support, information and advice for marginalized and vulnerable people since 1983.
In partnership with Dorset County Council Social Services, the Lantern Trust provides a Housing and Resettlement Project for local service users with mental health issues. They aim to give their clients a sense of self-confidence and self-worth rather than one of dependence and reliance. They have helped a huge number of people with varying degrees of needs, helping them find accomodation, loaning rent deposits and helping keep people off the streets to the benefit of not only the people themselves, but the wider community. From January - December 2015, over 350 referrals were made to the service.
Ex-offenders involved with the project benefited from tailored support and assistance such as welfare benefit advice, subsidised meals and interest-free loans, as well as encouraging service users into education and employment.
The Lantern Trust approached the PCC for a grant of £1400 from the Safer Dorset Fund so they would be able to establish an extension to their current services to those with a history of offending behaviour. This funding has allowed them to take referrals for offenders which they could not previously undertake..
The latest report submitted by the project shows that 53 people were supported into privately rented accommodation with their involvement. This year all customers engaging with the resettlement project have been provided with tenancy support and outreach services for a minimum of six months. Interventions ranged from advocacy on the telephone and help with form completion to providing written statements and advocacy when attending Tribunals in the County Court.
As in previous years, a high proportion of referrals have a history of offending; 132 (38%) of new customers in 2015 were ex-offenders, 26 of whom (7%) had served HMP, YOI or Military HMP sentences and 15 of whom (4%) were on Probation