Working Links: Helping London's Bangladeshi ex-offenders
Finding a job is tough for ex-offenders. It can be even tougher for ex-offenders from ethnic minority communities that often experience multiple hardships and poverty
Working Links' Kormo Shadin ('freedom to work') programme, which ran during 2007 and 2008, guided jobseekers through a range of activities to help them become socially and financially better off. Funded by the London Development Agency (LDA) , it was designed to help Bangladeshi ex-offenders living in the Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney areas of London.
Working Links formed positive relationships with local criminal justice services, drugs treatment agencies, youth and community organisations, housing associations and faith groups. These strong community links, together with flexible funding arrangements, enabled Working Links to deliver a more personalised service, not normally available through mainstream provision. This allowed staff to address the many barriers to employment that people on the programme faced.
As a result, the programme had a number of successes. Of the 262 programme participants, 86 people found employment, 25 received work placements and 21 went into training.