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 that team work and positive role models could have had on the imprisoned young people he was working with.
Believing that by engaging young people through sport, especially rugby, 3Pillars could emphasise a sense of ethos, positive values, physical discipline, and teamwork. The team set out to engage some of the most vulnerable young men and equip them with essential qualities to overcome life’s challenges. Through a rugby based personal development course, these men could experience the positive differences Mike experienced in the British Army, empowering them through discipline, endurance, and exposure to positive role models.
The team had been optimistic about the first course, but even Mike found the results staggering. Joined in 2016 by Rebecca Norris, a Barrister, and Will Mclay, a 30 year army PTI, working 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.
Seven years later, 3Pillars Project has engaged hundreds of young men in the South East and the Midlands. Some of our first course participants have been employed as coaches by 3Pillars and progressed on to further longterm employment. We have an ongoing relationship where-in we employ people in Category D prisons on day release, known as Release On Temporary License (ROTL). This is a powerful model of engagement and these young men are fully embraced into our team, delivering a combination of commercial and community sessions.
We have launched 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 adults in prison 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.
The goal of the charity is clear; to build a best in class intervention that helps young people to build a positive future for themselves.
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 ACEs, 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.