Inside Out Support Wales (IOSW) was established in March 2019. It is a community interest community (‘CIC’) that aims to offer general and bespoke support and guidance for people with convictions. IOSW works with those wishing to set up in self-employment, accessing further or higher education in the community or entering into employment. Its services include mentoring, as well practical support and advice to support transition back into the community, self-employment and accessing education, training and employment.
Reoffending rates in Wales have increased according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice. The cost for keeping a prisoner in jail for one year is now estimated to be £43,213 a year or £118 a day; an increase of 6% in the last 12 months. This is exacerbated by the fact that a third of people who are released from prison go on to re-offend within the first 12 months. This continues to present a huge amount for the taxpayer. Inside Out Wales aims to assist in reducing the reoffending rate. Alongside this, and as a consequence, IOSW aims to help reduce the cost of re-offending to society.
IOSW has a small team of three Co-directors, one sessional team member employed on a freelance basis, and one volunteer
IOSW came to Cranfield Trust for support in May 2021, through a programme of grantholder support that we are delivering in partnership with The Triangle Trust 1949 Fund.
IOSW’s previous Business Plan was pre-Covid but delivery of this plan had been put on hold, as were all other strategic considerations, as the company had struggled to remain afloat during the pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, the company’s planning had been both reactive and covid-response based but the team now felt ready to commit to a new business development project as the company was finally in a position to start considering its future again.
During the pandemic IOSW had experienced severely reduced opportunity for revenue generating activities: this had been a consideration when the company was first formed, which was the reason it had been established as a CIC. The issue of funding has been a constant one during both the pre and post pandemic periods. One of the aims of asking for consultancy support was to produce a strategy and a clear road map that would help support fundraising efforts.
In August 2021, Cranfield Trust Project Manager, Jayne Kendall matched Jamie Grundy, IOSW Co-Director with Cranfield Trust volunteer, Gary Metcalfe. Gary is an experienced organisational development practitioner and also has volunteered with Cranfield Trust as a consultant, mentor and peer facilitator for several years.
Throughout Autumn 2021, Gary worked remotely with Jamie to understand IOSW’s needs and objectives and held several face to face meetings with the IOSW team to map out their business development strategy, asking questions and challenging their thinking along the way.
Gary also worked with the team to help adapt their training packages to make them more streamlined and efficient, and he reached out to his own network to seek out opportunities to promote the support on offer from the charity. This has resulted in the Wales Board of the Chartered Management Institute agreeing to host an online event with IOSW around the subject of ‘Why Employ Ex-offenders?”, an event that will give the charity more exposure to businesses and leaders across Wales. As Gary explains, “With the aid of associates in my wider network, we are organising a webinar that will raise awareness of IOSW and engage businesses across Wales and the UK of the benefits of employing ex-offenders.”
In December 2021, IOSW learned that they had been successful with their application for a significant grant from the National Lottery. Jamie Grundy wrote to Jayne Kendall,
“Thank you again for your help thus far, as it has been a significant help to us as a small and developing team.”
The business planning project is completing in March 2022. A strategy and business plan has been developed and IOSW will be using this to support both their operational development and their fundraising efforts. IOSW is also keen to work on another project with Cranfield Trust in the future.
Jamie Grundy spoke about how the project has already benefitted the organisation with planning how to deliver its services in the post-Covid environment.
“As a small and relatively new organisation with a nationwide remit, this support was fantastic, especially as we emerge from the pandemic. We have had to translate our business offering from in-person to virtual support, during Covid, and then into a blended offering as we exit the pandemic. Also, we have been able to access new markets, something we were unable to attain previously. This would not have been possible prior to the support offered through our business mentor.”
Jamie also explained how the project afforded him and the other Directors the space and opportunity to commit time to think and plan for the future – something which many not-for-profit leaders find challenging: “The support has had an immediate impact in being able to allow us as Directors a specific and focussed period of time on our business plan. Sometimes when you are involved in a supportive and supporting organisation, the opportunity to pause, reflect and then critically analyse is rarely offered. The support offered through a business mentor, not only provided this opportunity, it also has allowed us to develop as a funded and increasingly revenue generating social business.”
For Jamie personally, the project helped to build his confidence that he was making the best decisions possible as a leader and director.
“Having such expert support gave me as a Director a reassurance that the big decisions we were taking at a strategic level, were the right ones made at the right time. I was confident in the work both of myself and my fellow directors, that we are fulfilling our social mission to our service users, in the best possible way.”
For Gary, Cranfield Trust’s volunteer, this has been another rewarding experience of supporting a charity:
“This has been a great opportunity to work with a charity that is making a positive impact and empowering ex-offenders to make a difference when they return to their community. It was enlightening for me to work with the Team and to see what difference they have made.”
“The team at IOSW were on the right tracks and held the solutions to their own challenges – they just needed a ‘critical friend’ to listen, affirm their plans and give advice for actions they had not considered.”