St Giles Trust, which supports ex-offenders and adults facing disadvantage, and Royal London Society (RLS), one of the UK’s oldest charities assisting ex-offenders, is set to merge with St Giles Trust taking over the work of RLS. The two charities work with some of the most disadvantaged people in London and across the UK.
Established in 1824, in its inception RLS helped men and women departing prison by providing them with shelter. In recent years, the charity has focused on training and equipping people in custody and on probation with the necessary resources to secure suitable employment to break the cycle of re-offending.
St Giles Trust was founded in 1962 to help destitute people in south London. It went on to establish the first day centre for homeless people in south London. The breadth of its work continued to evolve and the charity now supports prisoners and ex-offenders across the country to re-build their lives. St Giles Trust also pioneers schemes such as its award-winning SOS Project which works with young people in gangs, as well as its Peer Advisor Programme.
Robert Kissin, Chair of The Royal London Society, said: “Over the past fifteen years, Royal London Society has enabled thousands of men and women coming out of prison to obtain suitable employment, enabling them to feel not only part of the community again, but helping them contribute towards it. In securing employment the incidence of re-offending has been dramatically reduced. In recent years the challenges to obtain external funding, in what is already a competitive landscape, have increased, alongside the need for our services.
“Whilst we continued to utilise our endowment fund, the pressure to obtain outside support increased to ensure the future work of our charity. Having explored a number of options we looked to combine our fund with a charity whose work, energy and ethos complemented that of our own. Undoubtedly St Giles Trust has these attributes and I am confident that in its hands, our fund and work will continue for many years to come.”
St Giles Trust is committed to honouring grants and applications which have already been submitted to RLS. Consideration for an award will be based on the criteria against which the application was made. There will be some delay in this process whilst the takeover is completed. Once completed, the Royal London Society Endowment Fund will be reviewed and relaunched to maximise impact for offenders and those with convictions across prisons and services where St Giles Trust works.
St Giles Trust’s Peer Advisor Programme, using professionally trained ex-offenders to deliver the majority of the charity’s frontline services, will provide a pipeline for the endowment fund’s future developments.
Rob Owen OBE, Chief Executive of St Giles Trust, said: “We were very honoured to be selected by the board of Royal London Society to continue its legacy, helping those facing serious disadvantage have a step up into employment. Our Peer Advisor Programme has led to our multi-award winning reputation as a charity that delivers on its promises and offers high quality, credible services. We are delighted that the Trustees of the Royal London Society have placed their trust in us and we will not let them down.”
The Peer Advisor Programme has been robustly externally evaluated. It is proved to help reduce offending as well as deliver up to £10 in public savings for every £1 invested in the scheme. The added benefit of the endowment fund to support employability of ex-offenders will be used to further enhance its value.
Anyone with any enquires about the endowment fund should email RLSE@stgilestrust.org.uk
St Giles Trust works with ex-offenders and disadvantaged people at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. We create safer communities by reducing the number of people driven to commit crime and preventing future victims. We work directly in prisons across the UK and have community based offices in London, Ipswich, Cardiff and Leeds. In 2016, we helped 18,000 people to change their lives. We offer support around factors which are known to affect offending such as housing, employment and ensuring our clients are able to access the right services to help them overcome any barriers.
Our Peer Advisor Programme offers ex-offenders and other disadvantaged people the opportunity to become professionally trained and progress into employment, whilst also supporting others to move their lives forward. By using this mix of first-hand insights coupled with specialist training, we are able to provide a service which reaches some of the most disadvantaged, vulnerable people often not engaged in or excluded from other services.