Charity aims to give former inmates a fresh start in life
- Credit: Archant
A church group is rolling out a project to help former inmates make the most of their second chance after leaving prison.
Loving by Giving, which is based in Norwich, has led a number of charitable efforts in the past and they are now looking to provide those who have served time with the means to move on with their lives.
Having started working on a project with prison services in Norwich, the first objective they have set out is to supply backpacks containing essential items to people who leave prison with nothing.
Their second initiative, 'Old Bikes', asks member of the public to donate unwanted bicycles, which can be repaired by inmates and then used as a means of transport when they are released.
Although the project is still in its infancy, the group is hoping to generate further interest and have it implemented in prisons throughout the region.
One of those involved with the church is William Gilroy, from Lowestoft.
Having had a tough start in life and grown up in foster care, Mr Gilroy found himself in prison having turned to crime.
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But whilst in prison he retook equivalent GCSEs and A-Levels, before securing a place at Goldsmiths, University of London.
'I was fortunate to be placed in a half-way house and given a lot of help upon my release,' said Mr Gilroy, who explained he was one of the lucky ones.
'There were not many placements for people like me and some people found themselves homeless.'
Mr Gilroy went on to work for a number of big companies and is now intent on helping Loving by Giving in their efforts to ensure that people are able to start fresh when they leave prison.
'Dr Jaco Beukes, the pastor at our church, is a very influential part of my life and has helped me and others with many problems in our lives,' added Mr Gilroy.
'We would like to get involved in helping others when everyone else has given up on them - I am proof that it's not too late.'
You can donate essential items or 'old bikes' at the church's 10am Sunday service at West Costessey Hall, or alternatively contact email@example.com to arrange pick-up.