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Melbourne program assists people to rebuild lives after prison

Commissioner Miriam Gluyas with Carmel Ring and David Emerson at the launch of Project 614’s People Going Beyond ministry. Carmel is the 614 Magpie Nest Housing coordinator and David Emerson is from the Collingwood Football Club, which is a major supporter of Project 614.

A Melbourne inner-city corps has recently begun a multi-faceted program to assist those recently released from prison.

The Salvation Army Project 614 program titled People Going Beyond (PGB) offers participants 12 months of accommodation, an individual caseworker and access to The Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Program, alcohol and other drugs assistance programs, family violence programs and mental health care.

Possible participants soon to be released are identified by Salvation Army prison chaplains, who then partner with Project 614 to deliver services.

The corps has also partnered with construction company Hickory Group Australia to provide training and employment opportunities for participants.

Corps Officer Major Brendan Nottle said the goals of the PGB program, officially launched earlier this month, were personal transformation for those recently imprisoned.

Major Brendan Nottle speaks at the official launch of the PGB program in early May.

“What we really want to do is see people that have been in prison come out, receive intensive support and actually get back on their feet,” he said. “Our goal is that we’re providing accommodation [and] we’re addressing the drivers for offending.”

Brendan said workers would love to see participants rebuilding family relationships or reconnecting back into the community through education. He said the program had been running for four months and began solely for women who had been imprisoned but had now been extended to both men and women.

He said this year also marked the 140th anniversary of the launch of the first expression of Salvation Army social work anywhere in the world, a halfway house titled the Prison Gate Brigade for those imprisoned at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

A Salvation Army officer greets two former prisoners as they are released from gaol as part of the old Prison Gate Brigade ministry that operated throughout Australia in the late 19th century.


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