Doing Life Differently

Our ground-breaking Perspectives Project exists to empower, educate and mentor young men caught up in the Criminal Justice System. Inspired by our Christian faith, our support encourages them to make positive choices, lead crime free futures and experience fullness of life in body, mind and spirit. We believe in developing relationships with every individiual, supporting healing and restoration and speaking freedom into their lives.

Working with young men on community orders, suspended sentences or post-sentence supervision there are three key strands to our work:

  • Learning: We run small group community based courses for ex-offenders that focus on personal and interpersonal skills. These courses are accredited through the National Open College Network and teach core skills including decision making, action planning, interacting with others, body language and positive communication.
  • Mentoring: In association with Dorset, Devon and Cornwall CRC, we offer one to one mentoring support for young men on probation as part of their community order. Through mentoring we address key areas: housing; food and finance; mental health and wellbeing; purpose and identity; support networks and contributing to society, including employment.
  • Therapeutic activity: Every week we run group activities that support young men as they re-integrate into the community. These activities enable them to connect with nature, experience personal enrichment and build community, and include running our popular allotment project and taking part in cooking groups.

We believe whole heartedly in collaborative working across the community and we work closely with numerous other agencies on the development of a Criminal Justice Pathway at CoLab – Exeter’s multi-agency wellbeing hub. We are also members of the South West Mentor Alliance.

Plans for 2020

Nurturing and tending an allotment is an extremely social and therapeutic process and is known to greatly aid rehabilitation. This coming year therefore we are developing our horticulture project so that our young people can use the physical and mental space to reflect and learn about themselves, horticulture and others.

We will also roll out our Anger Management Course after a successful pilot in 2019 and we are looking forward to running ‘round the world’ cooking courses throughout the wetter months.

YMCA Exeter allotment Spring 2020
YMCA Exeter polytunnels on allotment Spring 2020

Funding Appeal

In August 2019 we launched a funding appeal when we hit an unexpected funding challenge for our Perspectives project. However, due to God’s faithfulness and the generosity of our supporters we have now raised the funding we need to continue this project into the new year. A huge thank you to every individual and church who has supported our appeal.


Community Projects Manager