Emmaus Hertfordshire has received a Partnership Award from the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in recognition of the support it gives prison charity HACRO to get ex-offenders back into work.

Now in its second year, the HACRO Achievement Awards celebrates the journey some ex-offenders have made in turning their life around. High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Suzy Harvey, presented each award at the event, which took place on Tuesday 15 May at the University of Hertfordshire’s Weston Auditorium. Recognised on the night were 24 ex-offenders in a number of categories including succeeding in employment, overcoming addiction, being a role model and personal growth. In addition, there were a number of special awards for partnership and volunteering presented to individuals and local organisations.

Emmaus Hertfordshire received the Partnership Award for its involvement in the HACRO run WorkAbility and Building Better Opportunities programmes. Emmaus Hertfordshire provides a home and meaningful work for up to 39 companions who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion. The partnership between the two charities, which has been ongoing since 2015, aims to provide Emmaus companions and ex-offenders the opportunity to be involved in projects that build their confidence and self-esteem, enabling them to go on and create meaningful futures for themselves.

Building Better Opportunities mentor Tony Franklin is an ex-offender now employed by HACRO. Tony said:

“The partnership between HACRO and Emmaus Hertfordshire is a way to give ex-offenders the opportunity to become work ready and move into employment. Each week I bring a group of ex-offenders to volunteer in the Emmaus Hertfordshire community in a variety of areas, ranging from gardening and repairs to maintenance and helping in the workshop. The group benefits from keeping busy, learning new skills, and adjusting to a work routine. They get to see their hard work make a difference to a local homelessness charity, which is rewarding and provides encouragement to help them turn their lives around. Emmaus Hertfordshire now also provides the space for HACRO to run its WorkAbility course, which offers training on CV writing, mock interviews, and improving computer literacy to ex-offenders.”

“It is an absolute pleasure to have the HACRO team here with us every week and it is great to see the relationship between our two charities blossom over the years. Everyone at Emmaus Hertfordshire is looking forward to continuing our work together in the future.”

Tony Ferrier, CEO at Emmaus Hertfordshire

Emmaus Hertfordshire offers companions an alternative route out of homelessness within a supportive environment by providing a home for as long as they need and the opportunity to work full time in the charity’s second-hand shops at Tring, St Albans, Harpenden, Barnet, Hertford and Hemel Hempstead. The income generated through Emmaus’s shops goes straight back into the community and enables companions to develop skills, rebuild their self-respect and help others in greater need than themselves.

HACRO is a Hertfordshire based prison charity which has been working since 1974 to support people who have been on the wrong side of the law to get their lives back on track. HACRO focus on providing family and employment support, as keeping family relationships and having a job means a lower likelihood of reoffending.

To find out more about HACRO, visit www.hacro.org.uk.