Working with Probation Services and Prisons

Both Dawn and Isabel have experience working with Probation and prisons and this has been something they wanted to do through Enterprise Inspiration.  Below is a summary of the fantastic work and recognition they have received:


We have been delivering with Thames Valley Probation during 2013 and 2014. We are currently applying for funding to work in Hounslow and have secured funding to deliver with Probation and other organisations in the west Berkshire/ Reading area.

Our work with ex offenders has been reported on by NOMS (National Offender Management Service) and we are in touch with a variety of charities that work with ex offenders and their families.

Why is self employment relevant to ex offenders?

There is much independent research that shows employers attitudes to and perceptions of those with criminal records. Significant barriers to employment opportunities are highlighted in this research. Many attain qualifications and vocational skills in prison with the expectation that on leaving (into a world that they may have changed a lot since going to prison) the qualifications will be a passport to a job. This is often unrealistic and therefore frustrating for someone who wants to “go straight” but may actually end up unable to support themselves and relations and end up back in crime.

Self – employment, for some, may be the only form of economic activity possible and for others a reasonable option possibly alongside part time work.

Feedback on The Real Business Club programmes:

This is an extract of feedback from the NOMS (National Offender Manager Service, executive agency of Ministry of Justice) report – taken from those who were on the courses in probation settings in the Thames Valley:

  • One participant was able to confirm that the course leaders had advised them that funding for the course had originated from Europe.
  • These 3 participants found the course a welcome eye opener and were confident that it could lead to future employment,
  • Course was clearly run in an environment conducive to asking questions, and highlighted their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Course was realistic, focussed and it was clear that the leaders had experience of running small businesses, had excellent HMRC and “red tape” knowledge and current loan information particularly for ex offenders.
  • They would definitely recommend the Self Employment course to other sex offenders as a realistic way to open up other opportunities.
  • One participant was now finalising business plans, meeting accountants and was about to commence trading. He advised that he would not be in this position had he not attended the course.

Enterprise Inspiration CIC provides training that is clear, motivating and realistic about self – employment. Being able to provide up to date and accessible tax advice is an asset as many ex offenders may have muddled or troubled tax records that will hold them back in self – employment or in employment and managing money.

Enterprise Inspiration CIC works with the whole spectrum of ex offenders (and where in prison work those who are still doing time). It does not condone what people may have done but does think that they deserve some kind of a chance to succeed and change their economic chances. It also believes that it is better to provide high quality training and have people gainfully self – employed than in the cycle of:

offence → prison → release → despair / overwhelmed / unchanged → re-offend →prison

This cycle can be sparked off by all kinds of things and on leaving prison the landscape of relationships, unresolved issues, fragmented services and support is hard to navigate and can lead to repeat offending. This is not only wasteful and destructive for them and possibly their families but is a huge expense on society that needs tackling.