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About Switchback

We build transformative relationships

Our Ambition

Switchback’s ambition is that everyone has the opportunity to live a stable and rewarding life as an active member of society.

 

Our Purpose

Switchback’s purpose is to enable young men to find a way out of the justice system and build a stable, rewarding life they can be proud of.

“When I first came into Switchback I’d feel so uncomfortable I could hardly speak. Switchback totally changed how I thought about myself.

I’ve learned that it’s not about taking the fast route, taking the long route is more beneficial in the end. I’ve done so much more than I thought I could.”

Elton, Fashion Student and former Switchback Trainee
 
 

Our Values

We keep our Trainees at the heart of everything we do

Switchback’s five values cut through everything we do, from our work with Trainees to our fundraising and partnerships.

1.Human

Keeping Trainees at the heart of everything we do

We build trust, confidence, independence and stability in all areas of a Trainee’s life. In all decisions we use the lens: “does this help us improve the prospects of young prison-leavers?”

2. Authentic

Rolling with the ups and downs of real life

We prize integrity and honesty. We don’t sell a dream: we are realistic about what it means to genuinely start over and the huge courage needed to change. We recognise that change is not linear and we provide a space to learn from mistakes.

3. Committed

Taking the long way around

Our commitment to Trainees is consistent and continuous, lasting for as long as it takes. We reject quick fixes, shortcuts and tick boxes. We do what we say we are going to do and coach our Trainees to do the same.

4. Ambitious

Having high expectations

We assume strengths, resources and abilities in Trainees. We don’t do things for people: we challenge and encourage our Trainees to take control. We are distinctive in our high expectations of Trainees, our own conduct, the quality of our partnerships and the impact of our work.

5. Pioneering

Pushing into our stretch zone

We challenge Trainees to move outside their comfort zone and we encourage adventure to learn and grow. As a charity we strive to do the same, constantly seeking to reflect and improve. We pioneer an alternative approach and share our evidence with others.

 
 

Why we do it

Almost half of people released from prison are reconvicted within a year. Many are back inside within a few weeks.

The obstacles faced by people leaving prison and trying to live life differently are higher than ever. Switchback exists to shift the narrative.

The problem

The reoffending rate has barely reduced in decades: 48% of prison leavers are reconvicted with a year and fewer than a fifth move into work.

Young adults and people from ethnic minority backgrounds, who make up the majority of Switchback Trainees, are also significantly over-represented in the prison system.

48%

of prison-leavers reoffend within a year of release

83%

of prison-leavers are not in work a year after release

£18bn

estimated annual cost of reoffending

£38k

annual cost per prison place

Barriers to success

Homelessness, mental health problems and low skills are just some of the barriers faced by people leaving prison.

Many have grown up in poverty or in care, have never worked legitimately and have experienced violence and trauma. Among recent Switchback Trainees:

53%

have drug or alcohol issues

43%

leave prison homeless

40%

have never worked before

37%

have no qualifications

These challenges are compounded by a prison and probation system in chaos and the fragmentation of housing, health and welfare support. This means prison-leavers are not getting the consistent, personalised support needed to make a profound change in their lives.

How we shift the narrative

Switchback’s model was established in 2008 on the premise that it is often not the lack of opportunity, but rather a lack of confidence, knowledge and continuity of support that prevents prison-leavers from overcoming challenges and realising their options.

When working with Trainees, Switchback models stability amid the chaos. Through a consistent, long-term relationship and real work training, we enable Switchback Trainees to make a profound change in how they think about and participate in society.

See What We Do to find out more about our model.

People only do what they know, and that depends where you grow up. To me, I knew how sell drugs. In my community it’s just normal to do crime.

Switchback taught me and pushed me so much. I’ve learned to forget about crime. I’ve been shown a different route."

Ahmed, Switchback Trainee

Our Team

Delivery team

Abbie

Senior Switchback Mentor

Celine

Partnerships Manager

Charmaine

Charmaine

Head of Delivery

Hannah

Senior Switchback Mentor

Kameran

Senior Switchback Mentor

Kasey

Delivery Manager & Senior Switchback Mentor

Raschell

Switchback Mentor

Tashan

Switchback Mentor

Yasin

Delivery Manager

Development team

Alice Robertson

Fundraising and Development Officer

Antonia May Cross

Head of Influencing

Amy Davidson

Communications & Campaigns Manager

Chris Anderson

Acting CEO and Director of Finance & Operations

Daniel Rajan Mills

Policy & Public Affairs Lead

Elton Gilbert

Participation Coordinator

Hayley Topley

Head of Philanthropy & Development

Jack Robson

Head of Fundraising

Lauren Trew

Senior Data and Impact Officer

Lisa Hickman

Office and Operations Manager

Liz Williams

Finance Officer

Raihan Miah

Office Coordinator

Sian Williams

CEO

Taran Kaler

Acting Head of Fundraising

Our Trustees

  • Duncan Shrubsole
  • Olivia Gillan-Bower
  • Gillian McMillan
  • Ben Summerskill
  • Nicola Hurley
  • Jasmine Ashley-Tagoe
  • Harriette Tillott
  • Burphy Zumu
  • Board Advisor – Omar Mentesh

Diversity snapshot

Click to view the images. Read our Diversity & Inclusion policy here.

Our Experts by Experience

Switchback’s Experts by Experience (EBE) board is a group of current and former Switchback Trainees who meet regularly to inform and improve Switchback’s work.

Click here to read more

Our Founders

Alice Dawnay

Slaney Wright

Our Advisers

Alison Flynn
Andrew Strachan
Andrew Robinson MBE
Anna Yearley OBE
Celine Tinne
HH Judge Daniel Worsley (Ret.)
Daley Doma
Elina Lam-Gall

Emma Bell
Iona Lawrence

John Podmore
Katie Beck
Katharine Danton
Leah Selinger
Mr Gee
Milka Fisiha

Pamela Dow
Rachel Gill
Raphael Duyile
Richard Hurst
Roma Hooper OBE
Shaffiq Din
Sophie Samuel
Slaney Wright
Wayne Hodges

Our Patrons

Primrose Bell

I've been so proud to support Switchback since it started. The team is wonderful — energetic, full of integrity and always totally committed. And crucially they always keep Trainees at the heart of everything they do.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Switchback offers a commitment that really changes lives. This is why they are the River Cottage chosen charity and why I have joined them to celebrate their many successes at each and every one of their annual events.

Our Supporters

From charitable trusts to employers providing work experience for Trainees, we are very grateful to the fantastic partners and supporters who make Switchback’s work possible. See our Get Involved page to find out more about becoming a partner or supporter of Switchback.