A GROUND-BREAKING project which helps vulnerable women in Whitby has won a major national award.
The Women’s Community Project, run by the Cambridge Centre, has won a top award from the Howard League for Penal Reform recognising the work it does to help women in the region.
Cambridge Centre chief executive Nikki Orrell received the Women Award from television personality and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop at a ceremony in London.
She said: “We are absolutely delighted.
“The Howard League is all about reducing the risk of crime, keeping people out of prison and creating safer communities for everyone.
“Those are the same targets that our Women’s Community Project is aimed at achieving and the success we have had with that project obviously earned the recognition of a very high calibre of judges.”
The project worked with women in the criminal justice system and other vulnerable women in Whitby, Scarborough and Ryedale helping them to tackle issues in their lives that can result in them being involved in the criminal justice system.
In their submission to the awards, the project was able to demonstrate major successes since the project began in April.
Nineton one per cent of women who reported issues with drugs and alcohol have made positive progress in tackling it, and 81% of women who reported difficulties with their skills and employment prospects have been given training, volunteering opportunities are have made progress in finding employment.
“These are significant changes to women’s lives,” Mrs Orrell added.
“Helping them with these issues can help them to stay away from crime, help them stay with their children, build better relationships and move forward with their lives.
“At the same time it helps our local communities by helping to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.”
The community programme awards celebrate best practice in community sentencing and champion the cutting edge of the criminal justice system, with work in the community that challenges and changes people for the better.
Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Cook, said: “The inners of the awards are beacons of best practice and a key example of how hard working professionals can succeed with those who have committed crimes and help them turn their lives around.
“It is by emulating examples like these that we can build an effective criminal justice system for the future.”