The Plan B programme is part of the ‘Crime Free Futures’ side of City Hearts and is an initiative funded by the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.
Our staff, known as Custody Navigators, approach people in police custody and offer to help them move away from a life of crime by addressing the issues that got them there in the first place.
If the clients agree, the Custody Navigators listen to their story, then provide support aimed at addressing the reasons they turned to crime – such as poverty, addiction, mental health issues, or unemployment.
One client recently helped by Plan B was Craig*. Craig, a father of five, was arrested in May 2021 for affray, and whilst in custody agreed to meet with a Navigator. He needed support with unstable housing, problematic alcohol use, mental health issues, and liaising with social services to get access to his children.
About Face Coordinator, Brooke Hitchen, said: “Craig had a stable job with his local authority, so it was essential this was maintained. Craig was referred to Recovery Steps meetings for his alcohol use, Andy’s Man Club for mental health support, and we also supported him with registering for council housing, and searching for private rented properties.
“His Navigator also submitted a Vicar’s Relief Fund application to help get funding for his housing, and he received a deposit and first month’s rent for a private property. This meant he was able to secure a house, and moved in before Christmas 2021.
“Craig is now working full-time, renting a three-bedroom house, and has regular contact with his children. He is also sober and in contact with his GP for continued mental health support.”
Katie Clarke, Craig’s Navigator, said: “It was a pleasure working with Craig. He was engaged and motivated, and was determined to steer away from crime. The love for his children and the desire to break the cycle of crime was his biggest motivator. Craig continues to work for his local authority, and he wants to use his journey to inspire not only his children, but other individuals wanting to change their lives for the better.”
Craig added: “Plan B is a fantastic service, with very helpful staff who were always there when needed. I would highly recommend the service.”
*Name changed to protect identity.