WOMEN on probation in Basingstoke are to be involved in an arts programme after a funding boost.

Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) has been awarded £20,000 from the Hampshire police and crime commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund for its arts intervention programme, Creating Change, now in its third year of operation.

Creating Change is a programme for women on probation, which was developed by HCT, in conjunction with partners BearFace Theatre and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company (HIOW CRC), in 2017.

The aim of the programme is to reduce reoffending and stimulate positive personal development for women on probation.

With the £20,000 funding, and £7,400 from HIOW CRC, HCT and BearFace Theatre will deliver the activity to up to 70 vulnerable women in Aldershot, Basingstoke, Cosham, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

Charlotte Slinger, cultural engagement manager at HCT, said: “We are thrilled that we can build upon the success of the first two years of Creating Change.

“The 2018/19 evaluation report provides a hugely positive insight into the participants’ progression: increases in confidence, empathy for others and self-worth all presented the most significant improvement on pre-questionnaire scores - evidence that this pioneering programme really is changing lives.”

Hampshire police and crime commissioner, Michael Lane, said: “Targeted support for community projects not only helps improve the lives of individuals, it also helps to reduce demand and pressure on policing. Supporting victims, protecting the vulnerable and reducing offending are absolute priorities and sit appropriately alongside enabling effective operational policing.”