New centre will help ex-offenders in Ipswich get back into work

Keith Thompson

Keith Thompson - Credit: Archant

A service dedicated to getting ex-offenders in Ipswich away from crime and into work is open for business.

L-R Carly Warren, Ipswich Police Commander Superintendent Louisa Pepper and CEO of St Giles, Rob Owe

L-R Carly Warren, Ipswich Police Commander Superintendent Louisa Pepper and CEO of St Giles, Rob Owen. - Credit: Archant

Run by charity the St Giles Trust, which works with ex-offenders to help them break the cycle of crime, the service offers a regular drop-in job club.

Running from its new centre in Norwich Road, Working Out is specifically tailored to help ex-offenders build the skills and confidence they need to set them on the path to finding work – provided by specially trained, reformed ex-offenders known as Peer Advisors.

Ipswich Policing Commander, Superintendent Louisa Pepper said St Giles Trust was a key element of a multi-agency response to problem issues around drugs and gangs in the town.

She said: “Certainly St Giles Trust has really opened my eyes and some of my colleagues eyes to the valuable work they can do with individuals who have perhaps made a mistake in the past, been in prison, but decided to make meaningful choices about how they look to the future.

“Often individuals who have been in prison don’t necessarily want to speak to police officers, so it’s really key that individuals who experience prison can speak to someone about their experience to make sure they break this cycle, and make sure they can find jobs and make a meaningful contribution.”

The service will offer IT training, help with writing a CV, interview preparation and practical advice on how to search for jobs.

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Keith Thompson, 37, from Ipswich, left prison in 2001 and has been unable to find a job since. He went to St Giles Trust in December last year, and he has just qualified as a Peer Advisor. He said: “I’m now going to stay and volunteer with St Giles and find work.”