SEPE Somerset College

Target Group: Young people at risk of offending, offenders & ex-offenders

Geographical Reach: South West England

Project Duration: 2013 – 2015

Project Funder: NOMS

Project Manager: Patsy Lang

Project Aim

In February 2015 Superact completed its Consortia development project funded by the National Offender Management Service, (NOMS CFO). Superact led this project with 6 other organisations which has resulted in the forming of a new company, Creative Pathways, soon to be a CIC with a director from each member organisation.

Creative Steps consortium consists of 5 members with a business advisory link. These are Superact CIC, Dartington Hall Trust, Somerset College, Exeter Community Initiatives, Kimberlin Associates (mentoring), with Peninsula Enterprise in an advisory role. The consortia provides a multiplicity of skills to programme development, and a far reaching network within community settings, the business community, and arts organisations to support voluntary and employment potential which reduces the risk of reoffending and tackles exclusion.

Creative Steps is unique in its delivery model with the creative process at the centre. We have demonstrated through the Superact work with Tribal/Probation that working with creativity has a great power to re-build the individual. Without the confidence that inner strength and self belief bring, an individual cannot progress forward and make the best use of other interventions or training that they might be involved in. The pilot also demonstrated that mentoring support can, in most cases, take the momentum built up with the Creative activity and channel it into positive action such as training and/or employment.

We are now in the process of preparing forms to be sent off to Companies House to register Creative Steps as a CIC. There will be a hand over meeting to the new Board of Directors and Creative Steps will be up and running.

Creative Steps has been funded by NOMS which is an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and is responsible for running the prison estate and probation. It is keen to ensure that there is competition for service delivery within justice service and is only too aware that some of the large national and international ‘prime’ contractors (Tribal, Serco, A4E) pick up most of the contracts on offer. As a result, NOMS feels that it is not benefiting from the skills available via the Third Sector and so this programme is about enabling groups of Third Sector organisations to come together and form a Social Enterprise that is fit for purpose and able to bid for future contracts.

Grants were awarded to 15 Consortia following a six-month two stage bidding process which saw the shortlisted Consortia receive Technical Assistance from a range of advice services (legal, social value experts, finance, marketing etc) in order to refine their bid. The Consortium led by Superact is the only one lead by a creative sector company and we are excited about the potential for Creative Pathways.

Creative Steps Community Interest Company

Creative Steps CIC is a social enterprise which brings together a number of organisations and businesses who work with those who are currently, or at risk of, chronic exclusion (Superact CIC, Dartington Hall Trust, Exeter Community Initiatives and Kimberlin Mentoring Associates). More than the sum of the individual businesses, Creative Pathways CIC, knits together the skills and expertise of over 100 years of experience working with the young, the vulnerable, the marginalised and those whose lives have gone “off track”.

Creative Steps CIC is unique in its offer, putting the creative process at the heart of the rehabilitation and at the very beginning of the individuals pathway back into mainstream society. This bespoke and personalised pathway supports individuals into employment, education, volunteering, and/or apprenticeships. The journey down this pathway is fully supported by a mentor for every individual. Creative Steps CIC is a membership organisation and the Members, who also act as Directors of the Company, include organisations specialising in community work, small business development, offender needs, social enterprise, education, employment support, arts programming and activity and mentoring. All this expertise feeds into creating an action plan of positive, forward moving activity for individuals with complex and multiple needs.

Creative activity has a very great power to engage and motivate, build confidence, and inspire people. Creating something gives a tremendous sense of achievement because the ideas, and the expression of those ideas, comes from the individual, a reflection of themselves sent out into the world. Creating together inspires a great respect and trust in each other. This is why our Pathways start here.

We rebuild individuals using creativity and then support them down a customised pathway of courses & specialist training, personal mentoring, community volunteering, education and/or employment opportunities. All individuals receive personalised plans, which include guidance, signposting, and genuinely useful qualifications on the pathway to employment.

This makes Creative Steps as a delivery model a unique opportunity for the personal development, training and employment of troubled individuals.

Established in the South West of England, with an initial geographic reach across Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, and Somerset, Creative Steps is able to deliver an exceptionally high standard of support across the region. Creative Steps CIC is ready to engage with providers at all tiers of procurement and delivery and is prepared to expand the geographic area in subsequent years of operation, increasing the volume of participants.

Building Creative Steps for Change

Each and every Creative Steps client is unique, each one with needs different to that of their neighbour.  Creative Steps targets the client’s individual needs using a menu based programme of activities, rather than supply a prescriptive course of activities. Creative Pathways has an inherent adaptability in the delivery model, enabling it to be tailored to the needs of various participant groups, including:

  • Offenders returning to the community.
  • Those at risk of offending.
  • The not in education, employment or training (NEETS).
  • Those who have become (or at risk of becoming) chronically excluded.
  • Young people at risk of exclusion.
  • Families of prisoners.
  • The homeless.
  • Single parents.
  • Military veterans.
  • Refugees/immigrants.
  • The elderly and those with dementia.

Each potential client/client group is diverse, with multiple and complex needs, for example:

  • Lack of focus.
  • Low or unrealistic aspiration.
  • Low self esteem, confidence and motivation .
  • Poor/underdeveloped social skills.
  • Low levels basic skills and attainment.
  • History of failure/rejection.
  • Teenage pregnancy/parenthood.
  • Criminality.
  • Ill/poor health issues.
  • Housing issues.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Learning difficulties/disabilities.
  • Social/economic deprivation.
  • Social/economic exclusion.

The flexibility of Creative Steps model ensures that target beneficiaries are identified and the needs addressed in the following key market sectors:

  • Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
  • Health.
  • Local Authority Commissioned Services.
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  • Job Centre Plus (JCP+)

Creative Steps CIC will work in the above key areas as well as growing to encompass further needs in other, as yet, unspecified, market sectors. In association with NOMS and other providers, Creative Setps CIC is willing to work in partnership to ensure the “package” of services is delivered as widely as possible to those who will benefit from it the most.