HMPPS Creating Future Opportunities (CFO) has been providing support to people in prison, on probation and serving community sentences for 20 years.
The programme currently funds two projects:
- CFO3, which focus on reducing the barriers to accessing employment or education in prison and the community;
- 21 community-based CFO Activity Hubs which help people on probation or licence by offering a range of voluntary activities, alongside their other probation provision.
CFO programmes work to change the attitudes and mindsets of people in prison and empower you to take ownership of your own resettlement journey and see the value of being an active and positive member of society.
CFO know that it is not always easy to access or fully benefit from education programmes in prison, either because of multiple, complex personal barriers or because of the type of offence you have committed. In the past, people in prison have experienced complicated assessment and application processes, which may have prevented them from accessing help previously.
CFO Activity Hubs bring local and community groups together to engage with people who have recently been released from prison or are serving community sentences and provide a safe space to help them reintegrate into society. The Hubs only offer activities which are approved by Probation, as well as services which are structured to complement existing resettlement provision and CFO staff work closely with Probation to ensure complementary working.
CFO Activity Hubs are designed to provide an environment where people who have recently been released from prison or serving community sentences can feel safe, respected and able to recognise their own value. By addressing the two pressures of boredom and peer pressure, the Hubs can begin to change the attitudes of those they help, as well as their behaviour and the effect of crime on society.
Carl, who has accessed a CFO Hub since he was released from HMP Berwyn said:
“The activities I do here have helped so much in putting structure in my day. Without this, as part of my life, I would just be watching TV as I was for so much of the time in prison. During lockdown, the only activity was 30 minutes walking in the yard. Since release, attending the Hub has reminded me that I like mixing with people and finding useful and interesting things to do – we meet and plan things – we can’t do everything we want, but next week I am going to be building Airfix kits, which will take me back a few years! I used to have model planes hanging on threads on my ceiling. Last week we went fishing. Some days it is a battle to get up and come here – but I do because there is always something to do and being here helps me to have a constructive routine in my life.”
Carl is currently volunteering at a local café and bakery, but he is determined to continue to attend the Hub and encourages those on licence or serving a community sentence to do the same.
“I am giving a bit back. I think about myself differently. I know I am recovering from addiction, but I do things for others. I help my Mum and Dad and I think I am making them proud. It isn’t a lot, but it is a start.”
There are 21 community-based CFO Activity Hub delivery sites across England, and one custodial Hub in HMP Holme House (focusing on veterans). To find out more about the support on offer to those on probation or licence, ask a member of staff or key worker to put you in touch with your CFO3 representative.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.