Belong's services are led by our Director, a senior criminal justice practitioner with fifteen years of experience working with offenders and seven years of service delivery and management experience. The Director has gained an understanding of issues in criminal justice globally by working in a number of African prisons and has also provided support to victims of crime. Other Belong staff members possess a wealth of expertise in project, financial and staff management as well as in work with disadvantaged people, including young people, offenders in custody and individuals with learning difficulties and mental health problems. The team has robust knowledge and experience of risk management processes and share a genuine desire to help make positive change possible for people who have offended and/or been victims of crime.
Alongside the Director, Belong’s board of trustees provide strategic oversight of Belong’s projects, contributing to sustainability, strategic growth, financial controls and the management of risk. The members of the trustee board utilise their experience of working in prisons; overseeing legal teams; undertaking complex criminal law case work; managing youth offending teams; heading integrated offender managementprojects; facilitating successful marketing and communications campaigns; managing multi-agency partnerships; undertaking senior and strategic financial leadership within public and voluntary sectors; and working extensively with disadvantaged groups.
The backgrounds of the mentors that have supported our programmes include having studied for an undergraduate and/ or postgraduate degree in a relevant area (psychology, sociology, counselling and/or criminology), having worked for youth offending teams, having worked in schools or prisons, or having previously been a mentor. Individuals who volunteer with us are motivated by a desire to work with disadvantaged groups, to fulfil a new challenge, to work within prison environments, or to further their career in the criminal justice system. All our mentors undergo a full training programme and enhanced prison security vetting before beginning their roles. All mentors who work with children and young people possess enhanced DBS checks.