Jane Gould Smith

Prison Charity Founder receives national honour!

 

 A Surrey campaigner who founded a leading charity offering ex-prisoners the chance of work has been recognised with a national honour. 

Jane Gould-Smith of Lingfield, Surrey, has been given a British Citizen Award for her services to volunteering and charitable giving. 

The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked. 

Since 2010, Jane, aged 61, has worked with ex-offenders after their release following her creation of national employment charity Clean Sheet. She saw that there was a chasm between employers and people with convictions; there was no bridge and little trust between these two groups. 

Now as CEO, members can access the Clean Sheet Employers Directory, exclusively for ex-offenders, and work with the Employer Team to find suitable work, training or volunteering. 

The organisation Jane has set up works with employers to educate and support, often as members take their first tentative steps to employment. There are now 105 registered Clean Sheet employers representing over 16,500 business centres, outlets, branches and sites across the UK, including the likes of Boots, M&S, Virgin Active, Halfords and BidVest. 

Currently Jane works with 22 prisons across the UK, directly and indirectly via partners such as National Careers Service and Catch 22. 

Jane is one of 35 medallists who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on January 25, at the Palace of Westminster. All BCA recipients have selflessly undertaken various activities in support of a number of worthy causes. Each will receive a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medallists are also invited to use the initials BCA after their name. 

Speaking about her nomination, Jane said: “ This is a very proud moment but the work is only just beginning. 

“We have been going for seven years but it’s truly snowballed this year. There’s a lot to do to seize the momentum and ensure even more ex-prisoners are able to take advantage of the service. Some of their convictions date back decades but many have still not managed to wipe the stain clean.” 

The statistics certainly make for fascinating reading, as Jane explains. 

“A former prisoner who finds work is between 30 and 55% less likely to reoffend. That average goes above 80% if they find a mentor. The message is clear – work plus support equals a better chance.” 

The awards are sponsored by the world’s largest optical retailer, Specsavers; one of the largest property and leisure management, development and regeneration companies in the UK, Places for People; leading ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell; specialist PR, branding and communications agency, Nathan Rous PR; and worldwide leader in IT and networking, Cisco. Each will be presenting the awards in January, alongside TV star host, Bradley Walsh. 

Nathan Rous, from Nathan Rous PR, said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to be involved with the British Citizen awards and to hear inspirational stories such as Jane’s. There’s so many good people doing great things across the country and they deserve to be recognised in this way.” 

Jane was nominated for a BCA by her sister-in-law Jane Holdaway, who said: “Jane believes that as long as men and women leave prison jobless, there will always be a need for an organisation which believes that everyone deserves the chance to start again with a ‘Clean Sheet’.” 

Email: info@cleansheet.org.uk
Telephone: 0300 123 3045

Registered office: PO Box 306, Plaistow Street, Lingfield RH7 9BA
Clean Sheet is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation
Registered Charity Number 1154034

 


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