The second community
The Crawley branch of abandofbrothers was started in 2013. Men from the town and surrounding villages answered the call to become mentors to younger men who needed their support. In February 2014, after months of training from the team that had set up the original community in Brighton, the first ever Crawley mentoring programme got underway.
Eight young men from the Crawley community, who were recommended by the local probation service, were offered the opportunity to embark on a journey of self- discovery to understand how they could turn their lives around and move away from a life of crime. The journey started with a weekend camp where the young men were assigned mentors with whom they met for an hour a week over the 13 week programme.
One of the key commitments that abandofbrothers has is to engage with the local population and make these young men feel a part of the community that they live in – and also to engage the community to value the energy and the positivity that these young men bring to Crawley.
During the programme many of these young men and their mentors provided a service to the Community assisting the “Let’s FACE it” campaign to sow seeds in the meadows of 5 Crawley neighbourhoods to bring some colour and joy to the locals and sowed poppy seeds on the “Heroes Walk” in the memorial gardens to commemorate the centenary of the 1st World War.
The community programme culminated in a private project to turn an overgrown and unkempt garden used by visitors to the Silver Birch Age UK Centre on Shackleton Road into a colourful and restful place for the elderly visitors to relax.
The people who attended the event heard some heartwarming stories from families and girlfriends who had seen such positive changes in these young men since starting the programme. The probation service detailed individually the positive transformation in behaviour and attitude shown by young men who they had previously known for years as habitual young offenders. Many of these men are no longer on probation and have made great strides towards putting their lives back on track – enhancing the lives of those closest to them and their direct community.
As we approach the summer of 2014 abandofbrothers will continue to work with these young men and are looking forward to the next 13 week programme with the next generation of recruits. We are actively seeking men aged over 25 from the Crawley community who feel they could be a mentor to the next generation of brothers.
The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ section invited Abob’s CEO, Nathan Roberts, to write about why the prison crisis is happening. Nathan explains: “Young men don’t mature psychologically until their mid-20s. Condemning so many to the toxic environment of our jails is a recipe for re-offending and suicide” in a very strong piece.
Article from Crawley Happy Times