A GRANT from Ford Southampton Community Fund enables young ex-offenders to rehabilitate into the local community.

Four charitable organisations based in Southampton and Eastleigh have received £19,171, following grant awards made from the Ford Southampton Community Fund, administered by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).

Footprints Project, Monty's Community Hub and Southampton Action for Employment (SAFE), all based in Southampton, as well as Solent Youth Action, based in Eastleigh, received the latest round of funding to help young people to learn new technical skills, focusing on those that are not in employment, education or training.

Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive for Footprints said: "This grant from the Ford Southampton Community Fund means that Footprints can provide mentoring for 20 local ex-offenders, with skills training offered to an additional 10 ex-offenders.

"It enables us to cover course costs, safety gear, mentoring expenses and transport costs and will hopefully in the longer term lead to paid employment opportunities.

"There is a link between ex-offenders gaining employment and their desistance from offending, however ex-offenders face many obstacles to obtaining work and face a range of barriers compounded by a lack of work experience.

"This opportunity means they can take some control over their own life chances, and with the help of our mentors learn how to budget, manage finances sustain tenancy, and work on their risk factors, behaviours and non-criminal identity."

Bill Hardaway, Manager, Vehicle Refurbishment Centre, Ford Southampton said: "As a local employer, we are extremely passionate about giving young people the opportunities they need to improve their life skills and achieve their personal goals.

"By supporting disadvantaged young people through our Fund, we can help them to overcome the barriers that limit their access to work and give them the chances that they deserve."

Grant Cornwell, Chief Executive at HIWCF said: "We are delighted to be working with the Ford Southampton Community Fund team, the grant programme is supporting some truly deserving groups in the Eastleigh and Southampton areas.

"The Foundation will continue to build partnerships in the local community to ensure that we can continue to target grants to the areas where they are most needed."