Langley House Trust was delighted to welcome Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk, to our local project on 9th December 2016.
Mr Chalk was greeted by staff and clients on the sunny December afternoon before being shown round the project.
He was joined by retired prison volunteer, John Sidwell, who was recently awarded an MBE for bringing maths education into prison.
Speaking to Jim*, one of the clients, Mr Chalk found out first-hand what a difference housing and support could make to men leaving prison turning their lives around. Jim shared how Langley had helped him to re-engage with society after spending several decades in prison.
Having struggled with alcoholism in the past, Jim is now alcohol-free and building up his skills to become employed through Langley’s Pathways to Employment programme. The ‘Pathways’ programmes provides routes out of crime for Langley clients which include employability skills training and self-employment.
Langley has run a project in Cheltenham for over 50 years, working with men with multiple and complex needs, including addictions, mental health and homelessness. It has successfully housed hundreds of men who have gone on to rebuild their lives after prison and reintegrate into society.
Mr Chalk has a keen interest in Criminal Justice. He is an advocate for prison reform and sits on the Justice Select Committee. He welcomed the decision of the former Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, to scrap criminal court charges and is determined to keep pressure on the Government to accelerate prison reform.
Speaking about the visit, Project Manager Lesley Molnar-Pleydell said:
We were delighted to welcome our MP, Alex Chalk to the project. His background as a barrister, as well as his understanding of the inherent problems within the penal system, enable him to appreciate the work we do. It was a great opportunity for him to meet with some of our clients and talk through the very real challenges of rehabilitation, as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future which are often the same as for wider society – a home, a job and someone to care for.
*name changed to protect identity