A PROGRAMME aimed at helping women who are at risk of offending is to be launched after getting an almost £10,000 grant.

A total of £9,868 of funding from the Coalfields Community Investment Programme (CCIP), delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, will allow Apex Charitable Trust to launch a hub that it hopes will appeal to the female community in St Helens, who are at risk of offending, are ex-offenders or have been victims of offending.

The hub will operate a weekly social group and will act as a safe space for women to give them somewhere they can visit to address social isolation and gain encouragement to develop their creativity through poetry, songs and artwork.

Established 23 years ago, Apex Charitable Trust offers support to offenders looking for employment, training, education and voluntary work within Merseyside.

Kim Hughes, chief executive of Apex Charitable Trust, said: “With low employment opportunities and high crime rates, the work we do in this area is essential for people and surrounding communities.

“We have been operating for more than 20 years and still remain one of the only organisations in the area that is dedicated to helping ex-offenders to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

"To achieve this, we must do everything we can to stop these women reoffending.

“With this new round of funding from CCIP, we will be able to offer a specialist service that helps vulnerable females tap into their creative side whilst also interacting with each other in a friendly and safe environment.”

Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis, added: “Former mining communities continue to suffer from high unemployment rates, and unfortunately as a result, people can turn to crime.

“It is imperative that there are organisations in place to provide these community members with critical advice and guidance to prevent them from reoffending, which is why the Coalfields Community Investment Programme is supporting Apex Charitable Trust.

“The launch of this new service, which we hope will support those that have been victims of crime while helping ex-offenders to stay on the right side of the law, will have an extremely positive and long-lasting impact.”