MP Flick Drummond impressed by probation

22 December 2016

PORTSMOUTH South MP Flick Drummond met with representatives of the Open Door service user group at the probation office in Portsmouth’s Civic Square.

Open Door is a group for offenders and former offenders that is hosted and supported by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company’s (HIOW CRC) probation staff.

Graham Butterworth, Open Door committee member, approached the MP’s office to organise the visit.

Flick said: “I was delighted to meet with Graham and others at Open Door and hear about some of the issues that concern them.

“Open Door is doing fantastic work keeping people from re-offending and I am looking forward to working with them and putting forward their ideas to Government and the local organisations which they are involved with.”

Probation staff Melanie Pearce and Rob Marsh also met with the MP and discussed the role HIOW CRC plays in supporting rehabilitation.

Melanie, community director for HLNY CRC, said: “Open Door is a successful peer support group which empowers offenders and former offenders to seek solutions and advice to help stop them from getting back into trouble. Ultimately, that is the most effective way of protecting the public.

“The service carries out great work by providing practical support, positive role models and support networks. The group exemplifies the importance of integration into the local community, which is part of our new model of rehabilitation.”

Open Door meets weekly at a church and welcomes new members who want to change their lives.

The group has been running for more than two years. During that time members have accessed training courses and gained paid employment, found new homes which have helped them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and formed positive social networks.

Graham said: “Our group aims to give members more confidence and help them to meet new people and see that a different way is possible. We focus on positive thinking and helping each other.

“We took this opportunity to raise the key issues our service users face with the MP. These included talking about the difficulties people face finding suitable accommodation; persuading employers to consider employing them and the vulnerable position those coming out of custody are in when they are waiting for benefits to be paid.”