What we do: inspiring new futures

Established in 1998, Trailblazers is a national charity set up to mentor young offenders (18-25), with the primary objective of helping to reduce their re-offending. Through weekly 1 hour, 1:1 mentoring sessions – both inside prisons and “through the gate” once they are released – we aim to educate, encourage and inspire our mentees to change their future and make a positive impact on their communities. 

“Why do we do it? These young men have their whole lives ahead of them. They have lots of talent and ability, they just need a step up and a helping hand.”

John Shepherd, CEO of Trailblazers Mentoring

For decades the UK has endured very high youth reoffending rates, delivering a constant financial and social burden on society. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of support, both inside prison as well as following release and more must be done to improve the opportunities for change. 

We currently help approximately 150 new mentees each year through projects in HMP/YOI Isis, HMP Brinsford, HMP Wandsworth – one of Britain’s largest prisons – and at HMYOI Aylesbury for young offenders with the longest sentences and which is part of the Long Term High Security Estate (LTHSE).

“Addicted, homeless and hopeless Karl is now sober and thinking about part-time college and work - giant steps - I could not be more proud.”

Kate, Mentor at HMP Wandsworth

Thanks to the incredibly hard work and dedication of our volunteer mentors we’ve managed to reduce our mentee reoffending rate to just 18%, compared to the national average of 56%. The direct financial saving to the UK economy is enormous, but it’s the long-term positive impact on the individual, their family and their community that continues to be our primary driving force.

“I’m so proud of all the guys I’ve worked with so far. I just wish we could reach every young offender in the country."

Kelli, Mentor at HMYOI Aylesbury

Trailblazers are a small charity, but with an incredibly big impact and over the next five years we are aiming to do a number of key things: We’d like to reach more young people in our existing establishments; We want to expand the number of projects we run in other prisons across the country; We’d like to attract more quality mentors; And we want to create partnerships with other organisations so we can offer better opportunities for our mentees after they are released. But we need your help…

“What has mentoring given me? It has been an incredibly humbling experience.”

Rodney, Mentor at HMYOI Aylesbury

It is the tireless dedication and calibre of our mentors which allows us to make an impact and we are always looking for talented individuals to join our force of volunteers. If you want to make a real difference to a young person’s life and believe you have what it takes to become a mentor please click to find out more.

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15/10/2019

Ministry of Justice Press Release: Scheme giving ex-offenders a stable place to live up and running

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14/10/2019

Trailblazers Job Vacancy – Service Delivery Director

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11/07/2019

Guide to opening a bank account after leaving prison

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