Giving Back in Bolton Project

The Giving Back in Bolton Project is a new initiative launched in April 2019 and funded by the Be Safe Partnership.

Giving Back in Bolton exists as part of the Bolton Locality Plan, helping Bolton develop ‘stronger, cohesive, more confident communities in which people feel safer, welcome and connected’.

According to Unlock, to date over 11 million people in the UK hold a criminal record, and this makes up 33% of people seeking employment. People with a criminal record are the least likely people to be given job opportunities.

Volunteering opportunities are incredibly important for people with a history of offending, and people with lived experience make excellent volunteers. However, there is still a lot of fear and misunderstanding when it comes to recruiting volunteers who have convictions.

The overall aim of the Giving Back in Bolton Project is improve volunteering opportunities for people with a history of offending, who live in Bolton or volunteer for a Bolton-based organisation, and improve the culture of Bolton to help people with a criminal record reconnect with their local community.

To do this, we will be developing best practice tools and guidance to help volunteering organisations to improve how they recruit, support and manage volunteers who have a criminal record. In addition this, Bolton CVS will be reflecting on our own policies and procedures to ensure that we reflect best practice.

The first step is to start the conversation about how people with a history of offending experience volunteering, and how volunteering organisations experience managing criminal record information.

Development events for Voluntary Sector organisations will be running through the year, as well as our new Getting Ready to Volunteer with a Criminal Record workshop for anyone looking to start volunteering. Please check our Training Programme for details.

In September 2019, Ange and John recorded a podcast at Bolton FM, as part of their work funded by Achieve. The podcast is a discussion about how having a criminal record has affected John’s life, including the impact that drug and alcohol use have had, and the part volunteering has played in John’s journey back into community life. 

Listen to the podcast.  

Read about John's journey and how Giving Back in Bolton project has helped him.