Launched in 2012 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund, Safe Hands is a five-year project that targets young offenders in the Merseyside area, aiming to help them integrate back into society after leaving secure care by offering them opportunities that they may never have considered as options before.

The scheme will support 150 individuals, both male and female aged between 15 and 21, utilising education, sport, media and the arts, to help get them back on their feet and into training, employment or further education, to prevent them from reoffending.

The project works with young offenders prior to release with an individual support package introduced to help prepare them for the outside world. Once released, the participants undertake an extensive programme of activities to help integrate them back into society and build positive relationships with their communities.

The project provides 20 hours or more per week of bespoke, themed workshops and accredited educated and training opportunities catering for participants’ individual needs and interests.

Since its launch in April 2012, the programme has achieved an 80 percent non re-offending rate among participants, compared to the national average of 27 percent. The average persistent young offender costs the government £80,000 per year and £300,000 over their criminal career, the non-reoffending rate through Safe Hands would save the government £36million whilst creating economically active citizens.

The 2013 Northwest Football Awards saw the programme claim the ‘Community Initiative of the Year' gong, seeing off competition from Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers.