Mike had been optimistic about the first course, but even he found the results staggering. In a prison with serious ongoing issues with violence and conflict, the coaching team were able to build deeply positive and meaningful mentoring relationships with the young men. The prisoners went as far as to make a thank you card for the delivery team, and the coaches were then convinced that they were on the right path.
Five years later, 3Pillars Project has engaged over one hundred young men in the South-East and the Midlands. One of our first course participants is even now employed as a coach by 3Pillars and we have an ongoing relationship with HMP Stanford Hill where we employ its Category D prisoners on day release from prison, known as Release On Temporary License (ROTL).
This year saw us launch community programmes, to further engage young people in the community and have delivered courses at a number of schools and Pupil Referral Units across London to "enhance the opportunities of young people in London" and divert them away from crime.
So far, we have empowered adult prisoners and young people in custody through a combination of trauma-informed mentoring, education and employment support and rugby training to lead successful and lawful lives, improving not only themselves but positively impacting their communities.
We were founded by Mike Crofts in 2015, who after leaving the army and volunteering in the Feltham Young Offenders Institution, realised the positive impact the army could have had on the imprisoned young people he was working with.
He secured permission to teach rugby in a prison believing that through the sport’s ethics, positive values, physical discipline and focus on teamwork, it could engage some of the most vulnerable young men and equip them with essential qualities to overcome life’s challenges. Through rugby, these men could experience the positive differences Mike noticed in the army, empowering them through discipline, endurance, and exposure to positive role models.
Why are we here?
3Pillars Project exists to improve the lives of young people at risk of committing crime and those in-custody, by providing them with effective support and mentoring, supporting them to secure positive futures. We provide vulnerable young people with the tools to overcome significant challenges and successfully reintegrate into the community.
Childhood experience has a large impact on the likelihood to commit a crime, particularly Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) such as childhood neglect or abuse. Young people with experiences of 4 or more ACEs are:
more likely to have committed violence
more likely to have been a victim of violent crime in the last 12 months
more likely to be in prison at any pointing their life
The problem doesn't stop with ACE's, with people not getting effective rehabilitation support whilst in prison, their prospects can significantly lessen. Life with a criminal record can limit people if they are not able to show they have committed to a new path away from crime. Part of our service is providing qualifications that can be hugely rewarding and motivating for the apprentices and contribute to reducing the risk of re-offending.