Employment training and life skills for ex-offenders boosted by £115,000 grant

A Westminster charity’s work to offer young male ex-offenders a brighter future is set to benefit from a £115,000 grant from City Bridge Trust.

Key4Life has been awarded the grant by the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder to boost its work in helping reduce youth reoffending rates and change the lives of young male ex-offenders in the capital.

The money will fund a programme to help young men about to leave prison with life-skills and employment training in HMP Brixton.

As well as equipping the ex-offenders with valuable life skills and building their confidence through therapy, music and football, the money will be used to forge links with employers who may not have previously considered recruiting ex-offenders.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“Everyone deserves a second chance to change their life for the better, and this programme will help these young men to gain more self-confidence and become assets to their communities.

“We are proud to support Key4Life’s important work in providing them with the mentorship and motivation that they need in order to turn their lives around.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to making London a fairer place to work and live in.”

Eva Hamilton MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Key4Life, said:

“City Bridge Trust will be supporting Key4Life to reduce rates of offending in London, in particular, our work with HMP Brixton to support young men both pre- and post- their release from prison.

“We launched Key4Life in response to the London riots in 2011, and the charity provides another chance to young people who have been involved with crime, including mentoring and help to secure employment.

“With the rise in knife crime on the streets, it’s more important than ever to divert London’s young people away from criminality, and into jobs and meaningful activity.”

The Ministry of Justice indicates that the overall re-offending rate for adult and juvenile offenders released from custody is between 29% to 32%, with the rate more than doubling among 16 to 24-year-old men, many of whom return to prison within one year of release.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 7,900 grants totalling over £380million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City of London Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Case study – Jordan – from Key4Life:

Jordan was 22 years old when Key4Life met him in HMP/YOI Isis. He was excluded from mainstream education before the age of 16 and. when he was 19 years old, he received a seven and-a-half year prison sentence and served nearly four years in prison.

Jordan joined the Key4Life programme to ‘learn new skills, find opportunities, connections, support and find the right direction’. Whilst in prison, he completed his Personal Training Level 2 qualification alongside the Key4Life programme, citing exercise as an important part of developing his emotional resilience skills.

Upon release, Jordan moved away from the area he had lived previously to avoid old associates and shadowed a personal trainer in his local gym, running Kettlebell classes for up to 20 participants. With the support of Key4Life, he completed Work Tasters at Gaucho and Glassworks, both industries that he hadn’t previously considered entering. He found employment in the construction industry and is currently utilising his skills by studying Gas Installation at college.

Jordan is also training to become a Key Mentor with Key4Life. Key Mentors use their lived-experience of youth crime, prison and rehabilitation to mentor other young people who are at risk – thus becoming community leaders. He is an integral part of the recruitment for Key4Life’s next preventative London At Risk programme, launching later this year. He also recently visited a school in Nottingham with Key4Life to share his experience of knife crime with teachers, as part of the school’s strategy to reduce knife crime in the area and keep pupils safe.

Media enquiries:

Andrew Buckingham

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

002 7332 1452

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. 

About City Bridge Trust:

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of Bridge House Estates, a Registered Charity, with its primary aim the maintenance and support of five Thames bridges: Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Southwark, Blackfriars, and London Millennium Footbridge.

City Bridge Trust was established in 1995 to make use of funds surplus to bridge requirements and provides grants totalling around £20m per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London. The City of London Corporation is the sole trustee of the Bridge House Estates.

About Key4Life:

Key4Life’s mission is to reduce youth offending through the delivery of an innovative rehabilitation programme to those in prison and those at risk of going to prison, through the delivery of a seven-step rehabilitation programme. The effectiveness of its programme targeting young men (aged 18-25) is evidenced – 14% of those who complete a Key4Life programme reoffend, four times less than the national average of 61%. Moreover, a Key4Life participant is four times more likely to be employed a year after their release, with 64% of Key4Life participants in sustained employment versus the national average of 15%.