In the early years, Aquila Housing Association had only worked with homeless young women, but in 2005 started the Men’s Work project in Sunderland. This project evolved into the Aquila Mentoring Project (AMP), which specifically worked with ex-offenders, running a through the gate service to support service users pre-release in prison and then working alongside them after leaving. The holistic model of support, based around the recognised 7 pathways to reduce re-offending, allowed the project to achieve great success in helping service users take positive steps of change and very few service users re-offended during the life of the project.
The AMP project closed down at the end of 2014, but the experience of working with ex-offenders was invaluable to who OAH are today and allowed us to have the expertise to open Basis@336 in 2010. Working with ex-offenders continues to be a core strand of our work through other projects and we continue to seek opportunities for working with ex-offenders who are homeless and amongst the most vulnerable in society.