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Gibran supporting female ex-offenders through digital inclusion

Gibran helped to run a workshop at last week’s Community Regeneration through Digital Inclusion conference, in Wrexham, that helped to demonstrate how to support people with more complex life issues

Gibran (UK) Ltd is a not-for-profit social enterprise, that works with men and women in the criminal justice system which includes prisoners, those serving community punishments and ex-offenders. Previously, its services relied solely on staff providing face-to-face appointments in places near to where beneficiaries lived, which meant travel all over Wales.

To help overcome this, the organisation ran a project called Connect, that was funded by the Big Lottery Innovation Fund. Gibran’s research found evidence of the benefits of using Facetime and Skype to improve communication, well-being and also to promote learning.

Connect was designed as a ‘trial’ solution to improve services for women ex-offenders. The project delivered to more than 350 women over 2 years and achieved the following:
•Increasing access to services through a digital inclusion agenda.
•Improving women’s sense of wellbeing by helping them feel less isolated and increasing their access to more types of support.
•Enabling women to use visual technology and access 24/7 counselling support, through the Big White Wall
•Maintain the quality of Gibran’s current ‘face-to-face’ work, but significantly reducing the time and cost of travel.

In addition, at any one time there are 1,948 Welsh women on probation in Wales. Typically with a poor credit history they are unable to access finance to purchase equipment or to access the online deals for broadband.

The final evaluation of the Connect project also included digital storytelling, with participants – staff and beneficiaries – telling their journey, through the highs and lows of this innovative project.