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Anawim’s Liaison and Diversion team and the New Chance programme were both shortlisted for prestigious Howard League Community Awards, with Liaison and Diversion taking the prize and New Chance receiving a commendation for its “impressive results”.

The Howard League Award’s Liaison and Diversion category promotes projects which help to keep people out of the criminal justice system, by providing alternative and effective interventions to reduce the risk of re-offending. The awards recognise projects and organisations whose work and practice are delivered above and beyond normal service delivery.

Anawim’s Liaison and Diversion team are part of a specialised service provided by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) to work within police custody suites, Courts, Prison and the community.

The New Chance programme was shortlisted for the Howard League Award’s Women category. This category seeks to promote good practice by the police and other agencies and prevent women ending up in the penal system unnecessarily.

New chance is a specialist project for women (18+) who have been arrested and identified by West Midlands Police as someone who would benefit from extra support. The programme uses a whole system approach to divert women away from the criminal justice system at an early stage and recognises the complexity of issues these women may be experiencing.

Support offered by New Chance is trauma-informed, based on the nine offending pathways for female offenders and is delivered by a dedicated caseworker. The project offers one-to-one support, group work, advocacy and the provision of information and advice; from supporting women with their benefits, dealing with childhood trauma, domestic violence and sexual violence to supporting women into employment.

A recent evaluation by the University of Birmingham demonstrates that reoffending amongst New Chance service users with mental health issues was 35-37% lower and those who had substance misuse issues identified had a 51-55% decrease in reoffending.

The Women category was won by the wonderful Trevi House, a women’s and children’s charity based in South West England — congratulations to all of the team!

Finaly, Anawim would like to say a big congratulations to our own wonderful Liaison and Diversion team and the New Chance programme for all their hard work.

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