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Valuable service shortlisted for national award

​A valuable service which gives vulnerable people from across Norfolk and Suffolk additional support to help get their lives back on track after they have been arrested has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The Liaison and Diversion Service (L&D), which is run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), Julian Support and Walking With The Wounded, has been named as a finalist in the Howard League for Penal Reform's community awards. It has been shortlisted in the “liaison and diversion” category, with the winner due to be announced at a ceremony in London on 30 November.

The L&D service offers support to people of all ages who are attending a police investigation centre, magistrates or crown court and have vulnerabilities such as mental health difficulties, substance misuse issues or learning disabilities.

Staff will quickly identify people who could benefit from support and refer them as appropriate. The service operates seven days a week, and provides help in a wide variety of areas, including education, employment and mental health, with the aim of reducing the chance of re-offending in the future.

Those with a military background are referred to Walking With The Wounded’s Project Nova initiative, which supports veterans caught up in a cycle of anti-social and criminal activity back into mainstream society and long term employment, in turn preventing further downward spiral and continued offending.

The service has proved a huge success since its launch, helping 2171 adults during its first year and referring 54% of those onwards for more support.

Ian Trenholm, Operational Lead Liaison and Diversion with NSFT, said: “We are delighted that the L&D Service has been shortlisted for this prestigious award, which recognises the difference it has made to scores of people from across Norfolk and Suffolk.

“The team works hard to identify anyone with a vulnerability which may lead to offending and talks through the options available to them before they are referred onwards. This means they can receive support as they move through the criminal justice system and into the right mental health or social care service, in turn reducing the likelihood they will reoffend or reach crisis point.”

Ben Curran, Head of Business Development with Julian Support, said: “Julian Support is delighted to be shortlisted, with our colleagues in NSFT and Project Nova, for an award by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

“The service works with some of society’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people at a point of absolute crisis in their lives. To have this work recognised by the Howard League, who campaign tirelessly for change in the criminal justice system, is a testament to the hard work and commitment of all staff working in the service across Norfolk and Suffolk.”
Colin Back, Project Nova National Manager said, “We at Walking With The Wounded’s Project Nova are honoured to be shortlisted along with our colleagues in NSFT and Julian Support.

“We all have a passion to support our cohorts and are constantly appraising each other of best practice ideas picked up along the way to share for the benefit of the vulnerable.”