The West Yorkshire Finding Independence (WY-FI) Education, Training and Employment (ETE) Team are pursuing a new partnership in collaboration with West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion Service.

The pilot will give the ETE team, which will continue to be delivered by Touchstone, the opportunity to continue supporting people with multiple needs, as part of the West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion (L&D) service.

This service provides support for people in contact with the criminal justice system who have mental health, learning disability, substance misuse or other needs.

The multi-agency Liaison and Diversion Team, comprising specialist staff from WY Police, women’s services, substance misuse services, youth justice and mental health services works with people at various stages of their journeys through the criminal justice system.  They will now have the option of obtaining specialist ETE opportunities and pathways into work. They’ll be referred to the former WY-FI team for ongoing one to one and group support, which is aimed at diverting them away from future contact with the criminal justice system.

Support will include the accredited Peer Mentor training that the ETE team developed during their time with WY-FI. There will also be new pathways created for people to progress towards a variety of volunteering and paid roles.

WY-FI supported more than 400 people with a range of ETE needs between 2014 and 2020, as part of the National Lottery Community Fund’s Fulfilling Lives programme.

The pilot has created a great opportunity for the former WY-FI ETE team to be part of a lasting legacy for The WY-FI Project, ensuring that people in West Yorkshire with multiple needs continue to get the right support to achieve their education, training and employment goals.