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Junction 42

Alan Reed

Tyne Bridge, Early Morning

Junction 42 is an established charity which exists to see the lives of offenders and their communities visibly transformed by the hope of the Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ. Their mission statement is taken from the Old Testament book Isaiah Chapter 42 verse 7 “to free captives form prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness”.

It began in 2012 through their director Joanne O’Connor who had started the work in HMP/YOI Low Newton doing both chaplaincy and education provision, working initially for Youth for Christ back in 2000. As the Entrepreneurial work grew and prison work became more adult focused, Junction 42 was born.

I’ve known Joanne and her husband John for almost 20 years. When John, who had been a  drug addict, met Joanne and they planned to get married, my wife Susan and I did their marriage preparation. Since then we have remained close friends and have closely followed and supported their prison work. In the past couple of years Susan and I have delivered workshops teaching portraiture in Low Newton prison to the young women there.

Junction 42 also delivers art and music related projects and Entrepreneurial Training courses in prisons to equip individuals in custody to take ownership of their employment situation upon release. This can be through setting up their own business using the skills learned in this course or by using the confidence gained form doing the course to make them better candidates in job applications. You can read a report on their Entrepreneurial work delivered in prisons.

The DWP refers offenders to Junction 42 to receive 1-2-1 Mentoring and/or attendance to their CAP Job Club to help them develop an action plan to rebuild their lives and to engage in the community in a positive way to dramatically reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

Another point of help for the ex offenders is Connect, a Christian group who meet at St Luke’s Church on Claremont Road in Newcastle on a Tuesday night. This provides an opportunity for them to find out about Christianity through Alpha Courses and friendship with christians.

As a means of raising support and awareness of Junction 42 I’m going to do a zip wire challenge from the Tyne Bridge on Sunday 15th April at 1pm. Two years ago a team of staff from Junction 42 did a zip wire from the Tyne Bridge and raised £5,000 between them.

If you would like to find out more about Junction 42 then Susan and I would love to see you at our Spring Exhibition at our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland which runs throughout April.

You can make a donation via MyDonate which will be very much appreciated.

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