Dave Anderson MP presents Veterans in Prison with Accredited Mentor Qualifications
About Turn CIC is the Trading Arm of Forward Assist Veteran Support Charity. Over the course of 12 weeks About Turn & Forward Assist in partnership with a member of staff from the Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA) delivered an NOCN accredited 'Veteran Specific' Mentoring Training Course in HMP Northumberland during 2013. It is a credit to all the organisations involved that all thirteen veterans that started the course successfully completed and now act as 'peer led' support workers within the Prison helping to identify and ensure veterans in Prison receive the correct advice and support and access to benefits (financial and otherwise) that they are entitled to. The Veterans involved have been issued with sweat shirts that identify them as a 'Veteran Mentor' and by working in collaboration with outside agencies andVeteran in Custody Officers the multiple and complex issues that can affect veterans in prison are able to be addressed. Dave Anderson MP is the Patron of Forward Assist and has agreed to present the veterans with their Mentor Certificates in recognition of their achievement on Monday 11th November 2013 at the Prisons 'Veterans' Open Day. Forward Assist Chief Executive Tony Wright said:
"This is an excellent example of how innovative thinking and collaborative working can assist those serving custodial sentences with specific issues or needs whilst acting as a catalyst for improving practice whilst reducing the risk of re-offending upon release"
Forward Assist veterans have just returned from a Cultural Exchange /Research trip to the USA which was supported by Dave Anderson MP following his visit to the USA in November 2012. Several of the trip members had been diverted away from the Criminal Justice System by Forward Assist. The group members had the opportunity to visit a Veterans Treatment Court and meet the presiding Judge and several veterans that had successfully completed the Veterans Treatment Court programme and now worked as Veteran Court Mentors. Plans are in place for the US veterans to visit the UK in May 2014 and a conference is in the process of being organised so that they can share their experiences with a UK audience. Similarly Forward Assist are meeting with Magistrates from South Tyneside later this month to explore ways to provide coordinated support to veterans at first point of contact with the CJS. For more details please contact CEO Tony Wright on 0191 2943539