Capital Shopping Centres wins Big Society Award
Capital Shopping Centres has won the Prime Minister¬ís Big Society Award for its Custody and Community Project at the Chapelfield Shopping Centre in Norwich.
The project, launched in 2009, is run in conjunction with HMP Norwich and aims to break the cycle of prisoners reoffending by providing serving prisoners with practical work experience and training in back office operations within the centre. This includes areas covering maintenance, customer service, recycling and cleaning. The project is geared towards giving prisoners a real alternative to crime upon release from prison.
The Award, which was presented to the centre earlier this month by Nick Hurd, MP, Minister for Civil Society, follows similar award wins for the project, including a BitC Big Tick Award for Excellence last year.
So far 122 prisoners have completed the scheme with more than three-quarters getting paid jobs as a result and 15 local businesses offering permanent employment to those taking part. Of those that have been released from prison, only 3.2% of the work experience prisoners have reoffended compared to a national average rate of 27%.
Alexander Nicoll, director of corporate responsibility for CSC, said: "We always aim to work closely with our local communities and businesses to ensure our centres are truly at the heart of their area. At Chapelfield, we have done this with a very unusual and hugely successful project that has numerous spinoff benefits, including the greatest benefits of increased employment and reductions in reoffending ensuring that we are helping make Norwich a safer place to live – an unusual claim for a shopping centre to be able to make but one that is clearly proven by this project."
The Prime Minister said: "For almost three years the Chapelfield Shopping Centre has been working with Norwich prison to offer work experience and employment to prisoners so they don’t return to a life of crime when they are released. This is a great example of the Big Society and what it means – businesses and the public sector coming together as a team to help offenders turn their lives around and make a worthwhile contribution to society. Congratulations to Chapelfield and all the businesses who have offered employment to prisoners, helping to reduce re-offending in Norfolk."
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