itsup2u Initiative


— About the initiative

CELLS relies so much on the testimony of people who have been affected by crime to relay their experience to youngsters as a deterrent. They are fundamental in the success of our awareness and prevention strategy. But what about them? itsup2u is about supporting them through their own rehabilitation and reintegration and creating aims and objectives with them through structured and achievable personal development plans. Realising achievable goals and career paths helps them avoid re-offending and putting their life back on the crime cycle.

With our awareness sessions we offer a proactive approach to crime prevention and reducing offending.  itsup2u offers a reactive solution to re-offending whilst also engaging with people to provide personal development and support, but as we say “itsup2u”.

We have worked with 5 prisoners released on temporary licence.  So far all of whom have gained experience, qualifications and work through the project.  Whilst achieving these personal objectives they have helped the community

Team members have developed their own accredited mentoring programme which is delivered by them

- Shaun Glanville
Development Manager and Founder

— Seven pathways to reducing re-offending:

1 - Accommodation and Support

A third of prisoners do not have settled accommodation prior to custody and it is estimated that stable accommodation can reduce the likelihood of re-offending by more than a fifth. It also provides the vital building blocks for a range of other support services and gaining employment.

2 - Education, Training and Employment

Having a job can reduce the risk of re-offending by between a third and a half. There is a strong correlation between offending, poor literacy, language and numeracy skills and low achievement. Many offenders have a poor experience of education and no experience of stable employment.

3 - Health

Offenders are disproportionately more likely to suffer from mental and physical health problems than the general population and also have high rates of alcohol misuse. Not surprisingly, 31% of adult prisoners were found to have emotional well being issues linked to their offending behaviour.

4 - Drugs and Alcohol

Around two thirds of prisoners use illegal drugs in the year before imprisonment and intoxication by alcohol is linked to 30% of sexual offences, 33% of burglaries, 50% of street crime and about half of all violent crimes.

5 - Finance, Benefits and Debt

Ensuring that ex-offenders have sufficient lawfully obtained money to live on is vital to their rehabilitation. Around 48% of prisoners report a history of debt, which gets worse for about a third of them during custody and about 81% of offenders claim benefit on release.

6 - Children and families

Maintaining strong relationships with families and children can play a major role in helping prisoners to make and sustain changes that help them to avoid re-offending. This is difficult because custody places added strains on family relationships.

7 - Attitudes, thinking & behaviour

 Prisoners are more likely to have negative social attitudes and poor self-control. Successfully addressing their attitudes, thinking and behaviour during custody may reduce re-offending by up to 14%.

— What CELLS have achieved through the itsup2u initiative:

  • CELLS have helped 72 beneficiaries gain employment through involvement with us and other partners

  • CELLS have enabled 198 beneficiaries gain work experience, courses and qualifications in our last reporting period (there were 82 registrants with itsup2u in that period)

  • We have helped beneficiaries including ex-gang members with traineeships and work placements and have sourced apprenticeship placements for youngsters when they felt they had no hope or future

  • We have worked with 5 prisoners released on temporary license so far all of whom have gained experience qualifications and work through the project, whilst achieving these personal objectives they have helped the community

  • Team members have developed their own accredited mentoring programme and is delivered by them

  • We have helped 14 beneficiaries found their own community enterprises and supported them with funding and business structure

Here at Cells, we want young people to have a voice and be able to participate in interviewing people in a podcast. We wanted young people to have the opportunity to progress and learn from people who have turned their lives around or people that have made something with their life. KidsKast is a Q&A forum that is led by young people to explore the questions they want to ask and are able to relate to, the focus is on fun, information and informed choices from lived experience. Children and young people have opportunity to ask adults about the choices they made when they were young and how it has impacted on their lives. CELLS focus on providing young people with an informed choice on crime, based on the lived experience of our team members. Team members are people who have been affected by crime & its related topics, some are victim to crime or abuse, some are rehabilitated ex-offenders who hope to change the young people’s views on life-choices and help them avoid the same mistakes that ruined their lives. The CELLS Team have always been amazed by the good questions kids ask. The children and young people running KidsKast will have the opportunity to also interview people who are deemed to have succeeded in life, and possibly ask questions on how this happens.
KidsKast is in partenership with Cells Project.