Project sees success in breaking link between crime and drugs

Pathway Out has helped Norwich offenders struggling with drug issues 

Pathway Out has helped Norwich offenders struggling with drug issues - Credit: PA

A project providing help to offenders struggling with drug issues has celebrated what it describes as a successful first year.

Pathway Out provides community-based support for people who have been through the criminal justice system and in many cases had issues caused by addiction to Class A drugs.

Hand of addict man holding cocaine

Pathway Out aims to provide training skills and employment opportunities to people with drugs and offending past - Credit: Getty Images

They are helped with one-to-one tailored support for up to three months helping with employment, training and how to manage their lives independently.

Launched in February 2021 and run by the St Giles Trust, one of those helped during its first 12 months was Chantelle, a 28-year-old mother living in Norwich who has bi-polar and suffers from PTSD.  

Four years ago, as a heroin addict trying to cope with a chaotic lifestyle, her two children were put into foster care and, whilst pregnant with her third child, she made the hard decision to put her new-born up for adoption.

Referred to the scheme after a brush with police, she has managed to address her long history of drug addiction with the help of her support workers.

“After my arrest, both Kate and Cordelia from St Giles called me to offer support and at the time I wasn’t interested,” she said.

Norfolk PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie on visit to Pathway Out project

Norfolk PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie on visit to Pathway Out project - Credit: OPCCN

“I’ve always had issues with authority and really struggled when I was in care, but they persisted and checked up on me to see if I was okay. 

Most Read

“We had an initial chat with no strings and that was the difference, there were no bad consequences if I didn’t meet them. This time I wanted to do it.”

The scheme involves a number of agencies and is linked to the wider Project Adder programme that aims to break the cycle of drug crime and addiction.

The man in the psychologists office

Project Adder offers vulnerable drugs users treatment and support as an alternative to court. - Credit: Getty Images

Clare Bradley, of St Giles Trust, said: “We all agreed that it is one thing looking at the numbers and seeing the impact a project is having, but it is hearing from the people behind the numbers, like Chantelle, that really demonstrates the enormous difference we can make when we come together with a common aim.”

The service is jointly funded by the office of the police and crime commissioner for Norfolk Giles Orpen-Smellie who recently visited to mark its first anniversary.

“Reducing the revolving door of crime by putting in place the support needed to reduce re-offending is key,” he said.