Corporate Social Responsibility

The Sherrards team supports ‘Divert’, a unique scheme to help young offenders

Divert is an extraordinary scheme working with young offenders at the point of police detention, diverting them away from crime and into education, training and employment

Divert is run by the New Era Foundation, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Service (“MPS”).  The initiative focuses on engaging young people, at the point of police detention, helping them to overcome challenges and offering them the support and guidance they need to ultimately find sustainable employment.

A pilot programme has already been undertaken in Brixton.  The pilot engaged with 116 unemployed young people, of which an incredible 38 individuals are now in employment, whilst a further 76 are undertaking training or apprenticeships.

How does Divert work?

Following an individual’s detention, one of Divert’s trained custody intervention coaches will visit them in order to gauge their interest in the programme.  At this point, Divert will look to understand the young person’s values and aspirations in order to match them with potential career opportunities.  This allows Divert to signpost the individual to the most effective organisation or network of organisations that can best support their needs and help them overcome personal challenges such as drugs, debt or lack of housing. The team at Sherrards provided legal support by preparing agreements related to the Divert project.

Wilf Pickles, a New Era trustee, comments: “It is terrific to be able to call upon legal support from a law firm such as Sherrards, who have come up with some really innovative legal agreements to support this programme.  Our thanks to Sherrards and, in particular, to Mark Fellows on the employment side, Andrew Cooke on the commercial side, and Paul Marmor from the dispute resolution team.”

Mark Fellows, employment partner at Sherrards, adds: “The Divert scheme is clearly something very different and cutting-edge, in terms of trying to assist young offenders and those who may be on a path to more serious crime, by diverting them onto a different track.  I am very proud to have had some involvement.”

For more information please visit the Milestone Foundation website.

Pictured here are Paul Elliott and Wilf Pickles from Divert with members of the Sherrards’ team supporting the project including employment partner Mark Fellows, members of the commercial team Andrew Cooke and Katherine Gilroy with litigation partner  Paul Marmor