Professionals working with prisoners, ex-prisoners or those sentenced to community punishments have been presented with awards for their efforts to reduce re-offending by north east charity Nepacs.

The awards for helping people resettle in the community and rebuild their lives have been given annually by Nepacs – the North East charity that works to support positive futures for prisoners, ex-offenders and their families or significant others – since 2004.

2018 is a special year for the awards as they were renamed in honour of long-standing Nepacs’ patron Ruth Cranfield.

This year’s Nepacs Ruth Cranfield Awards and certificates were presented by Marc Baker, director of operations for HM Inspectorate of Probation, at an event on Monday 24 September 2018 at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street.

The awards celebrated projects that support prisoners planning for release and afterwards, working with agencies to help promote purposeful and communal activity and build self-belief, helping them re-establish themselves outside prison, securing accommodation, work and positive family relationships.

The three main awards this year were presented to:

Running for Recovery (County Durham Integrated Offender Management Unit staff (from Durham Tees Valley CRC, Durham Constabulary, National Probation Service, Foundation, and Durham University)A running group for those at high risk of reoffending in County Durham and Darlington, offering a different and more effective kind of engagement with agencies, new interests and relationships, health improvements, and a sense of achievement.


Leanne Cole, custodial manager at HMP Holme House – Over the short period Leanne has been in post, she has made several innovative changes and improvements to the running of visits in Holme House, putting in place closer communication between the Prison and Visitor Centre staff and thereby enhancing the prison visits experience from all sides.


Integrated Support Unit, I Wing at HMP Durham (Mental health clinicians from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and Prison Officers) – A newly opened regional unit based in HMP Durham, a first of its kind, providing a unique approach to the management and therapeutic support of inmates with mental health issues throughout North East prisons.

This year a special lifetime achievement award was also presented to Bronia Banecki, head of assurance at HMP&YOI Low Newton for her longstanding commitment to promoting resettlement and rehabilitation for women offenders, and for the support she has shown to voluntary sector agencies working in the prison.

28 certificates of high commendation were also presented to the following individuals or teams who work within criminal justice across the north east:

Karen Manning, probation service officer, Teesside Magistrates Court – champion of women offenders

Jordan Ritchie, trainee probation officer, NPS Newcastle OMT – professionalism and motivation

Nikki Rodgers, Adelle Stubbs, Durham Tees Valley CRC – 18 to 24 year-olds project pathway

Stockton Female Only Community Justice Hub (Maria Briggs, Laura Coultas, Lizzie Vaux, Elaine Whittaker – officers; Olwyn Cooper, Leila Robinson – volunteers)

Gilly Close, Durham Tees Valley CRC probation service officer – work with domestic abuse

Margaret Lochore, retired probation officer from Durham Tees Valley CRC – lifelong achievement

Nichola Kelly and Aylisha Holland – Northumbria CRC through the gate team at HMP Durham

Rob Stone – Mentor, Wise Group in HMP & YOI Low Newton

Marianne Burrows, activities unit manager at HMP & YOI Low Newton – Shannon Trust Reading Programme

John White, supervising officer for visits at HMP Frankland – work for Prison Service Charity Fund

Anthony Lawlor, prison officer at HMP Durham – work in vulnerable prisoners unit

Darren Burrell, prison officer at HMP Durham – work in security

James Gibson, prison officer at HMP Durham – work as personal officer on B Wing

Chris Parker, prison officer at HMP Durham – work supporting improvement of living conditions

Hayley Hawksby, mental health team at HMP Durham – work in separation and care unit

Richard Glynn, supervising officer at HMP & YOI Deerbolt – work in segregation unit

Andy Carr, senior visits officer at HMP Northumberland – development of special visits

Maddison Bould, Dean Robson, Michelle Pattinson – resettlement team at HMP Northumberland

Megan Shaw, Team Shelter at HMP Northumberland

John Thompson, activities prison officer at HMP Kirklevington Grange – for work with community work projects

David Howard, prison officer at HMP Holme House – for life-saving action

Physical Education Department, HMP Holme House (Martin Smith, Alex Cleasby, Lee Tooke, Gary Martin, Les Williams, Garry Scott, Adam Norman, Clare O’Connor) – implementing smoking cessation course

Back on Track, Darlington (Lianne Steed, Graeme Small, Claire Howlett, Hamish Leslie, Malcolm Woodward) – multi-agency (Darlington Borough Council/YMCA/Durham Constabulary/Longfield Academy/County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service) programme addressing off-road motor cycling by young people

Darlington Anti-Social Behaviour Hub (Graeme Small, Glenn Caley, James Sewell, Andy Raby) – Darlington YOS /Durham Constabulary initiative

Darlington Youth Intervention Team (Graeme Small, Michael Bloomfield, Michael Barr, Cheryl Walton, Dave Tetzlaff, Michael Farquharson) – youth intervention scheme

Helix Arts (Will Lang, Hope London, Beccy Owen, Sally Pilkington) – Hidden Voices arts project

Recovery Connections Ambassadors – accredited programme supporting recovery in Middlesbrough

Recovery Connections Residential Recovery Team – residential Rehab programme in Middlesbrough

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “Criminal justice agencies have had a particularly bad press recently but the awards today demonstrate how dedicated individuals and innovative good practice can make a massive difference to the outcomes for people who want to turn their lives around, as well as preventing future victims in the wider community.

“I am delighted that yet again we will be able to showcase award winners from across different sectors in the north east who really are going above and beyond ‘the day job’ to make a positive change and offer hope for a better future for people with a troubled past.”

For more information on the Nepacs awards and previous winners visit our website