On Thursday 27 February, The Wallich held a launch event at the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay.
The event was to launch the phase 2 of the Building Opportunities Skills and Success (BOSS) project.
BOSS was initially set out as a brand new, South Wales wide employability & mentoring programme for people with criminal records.
The team tackled the stigma of criminal records & broke down barriers and challenges faced by our people.
We worked to increase the confidence, skills, employability and prospects of those we supported.
In addition, we worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of employing people with criminal records among our corporate partners, addressing skills gaps and diversifying workforces across industries within South Wales.
Over three years we have worked with almost two thousand people. Supporting 362 people off benefits, into employment and away from a life associated with crime.
We funded 375 crucial qualifications, to make the journey into work more achievable and sustainable.
But most of all, we have empowered hundreds of individuals to take control of their own lives, their own decisions and become responsible for their own future.
We helped our people to gain new identities as people of value and of worth, feel proud of who they are and finally, to break away from the offender label.
We have learned a great deal over the last three years, we’ve tried and tested, succeeded and failed, but most importantly reflected and refined our approach and I’m confident our second phase will be the best yet.
Because at The Wallich and BOSS, we work compassionately and patiently with our service users.
No matter how many attempts it takes and no matter how many times someone reoffends, we will not close the door, we embrace failure and turn it into an opportunity for learning and growth.
We have created our own community within BOSS, supporting our service users to not only gain employment, but a whole new life, purpose, circles of friends, support networks, and the confidence and tools to make those changes a permanent part of their futures.
BOSS is authentic, we listen to the people we support and have used their voices, feedback and opinions to inform the second phase of this project.
We have employed our service users and empowered them to use their life experiences to support and inspire others as Peer Mentors.
We are courageous in our efforts to support and empower our people. We will continue to challenge discrimination and stigma, while pioneering new initiatives, working innovatively with our service users and partners in a psychologically informed way.
We are determined to keep going and to make a lasting difference to the lives of people with convictions across South Wales. We will keep on adapting and improving our work to reach and empower more people to live the lives they deserve.
I would like to sincerely thank our partners who have supported and worked alongside us for the last few years. Most of all, I would like to thank our current and former service users who put their trust in us to help them.
This success is yours, as much as it is ours.