The impact of mentoring

MentoringBob* served 17 months in prison for drug dealing which was a massive part of his life and all he had known for several years. Whenever homeless, Bob would live in a hotel. His money came from dealing drugs and he had never claimed benefits.

He was very anxious about release but was met at the gate by the Through the Gate team who took him to his home town and to his first probation meeting. 

Pact Futures has been providing a Through the Gate mentoring service on behalf of Wales CRC since 2016, supporting the effective resettlement of people released from prison. Mentors, both paid and voluntary, typically spend up to eight hours with an individual on the day of release, attending appointments, advocating where needed and working to complete the actions agreed in the first probation meeting.
Following this, support is flexible based on the remaining needs of the individual and may include further meetings by phone, in their local area or attending future appointments together. This can last for between two and four weeks.
Bob’s family relationships had broken down so he had nowhere to stay, was worried about his benefits not being paid and was struggling with mental health issues including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Pact Futures’ mentoring team supported Bob on his first day by helping him to assess temporary housing options, access the job centre and speak to a doctor.
The interventions made resulted in Bob being given priority housing status and a room in a local Bed and Breakfast, his benefits being paid on time and his mental health on the radar of his local GP.
After coming up against multiple barriers at appointments, Bob says he would not have been able to cope if he had not had a mentor to support him on the day. He believes he would have been left homeless and be in no other position than to return to dealing drugs, just to be able to put a roof over his head again.
*names changed to protect identity