Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire former prisoners revamp homes for ex-offenders

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Media captionThe group hopes to renovate or build a dozen properties across Staffordshire

A group of former prisoners has started their own construction business to refurbish homes for former offenders to move into.

The Walk project is revamping 12 houses in Staffordshire supported by the Lifekeys charity, based at Dovegate prison in Uttoxeter.

It said the homes would be ready in January for recently released offenders to move into.

The houses will be visited every day by charity mentors, it said.

Simon Edwards, from Walk, started the project after spending seven and half years in prison.

'Work ethic'

He said: "If you look at waiting lists there are not enough rooms in the area to house people in Staffordshire anyway, never mind prisoners coming out.

"Prisoners are released with £46 to their name and some lads don't know to engage with the support that's there. These houses will help them do that."

Research by the Prison Reform Trust said 12% of prisoners released from custody in the last year had "no settled accommodation".

It said 60% of prisoners believed that having a place to live would "help stop them from re-offending".

Each one of the former prisoners employed to do up the homes gets paid about £50 a day for their work.

Ex-offender Tim, who has used painting and plastering skills learnt in prison to help do up the homes, said the work had "loads of benefits".

"Coming out of prison usually you have nothing to do so you go back to your old ways but I've now got a work ethic and guidance that I haven't had before," he said.

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