5:30pm Tuesday 27th August 2013
By Charlotte Krol
REFRESH Café is welcoming groups to book in workshops that encourage young people not to turn to crime.
The charity café in Cowley Road, which is part-run by ex-criminals, is one of dozens of organisations around the county that has received funding from the Government to help reduce crime through special projects.
Refresh also provides training and employment for recovering drug addicts.
Six serving prisoners coming to the end of their sentences will lead workshops talking to young people who may have got into trouble with the police.
In addition, Refresh, which is run by Oxford Recovery Network, has taken on three young people from local schools to help in the kitchen and do jobs around the café.
Director Glenda Daniels, 41, from Wolvercote, said: “In terms of reintegration for the lads in prison, the reducing re-offending project is key.
“They have to put together presentations. It’s also key for people at the workshops who get to hear what prison does to someone first hand.”
Community safety funding of £746,160 was given to Thames Valley Police for Oxfordshire from the Home Office.
Refresh was one of dozens of groups in the county to benefit from the cash receiving £30,000.
It is using the money for the reducing re-offending project which runs for a year.
Miss Daniels said that workshop locations, likely to be youth clubs, will be decided upon booking and will involve talks and presentations about the impact of a prison sentence.
Lee Giddings, 36, who manages the café and is a former inmate of Springhill Prison, Buckinghamshire, said: “The project is definitely important. It’s all about trying to get hold of the person before they go down that road.
“If you have someone there to tell you about the ripple effect then that’s good.”
Refresh is also hosting a festival for people recovering from addictions and for the public on Sunday, September 8 to raise awareness of its work.
The free event will be held in South Park from 12.30pm until 8pm and will have educational stalls including one from Crisis Skylight Oxford.
There will also be music from local DJs and food and massage stalls.
To book a reducing-reoffending workshop, interested groups are asked to contact Miss Daniels on 01865 209111.
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