European Social Fund Project of the Year Award

Genius Within CIC

2016 National Winner

Young people who are in custody are far more likely to have neuro-diversity, such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, and mental health needs than young people not in custody. In fact, 52% of the offender population have a neuro-diverse condition compared to (8-10%) of the working population.

Genius Within, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund and National Offender Management Service Cofinancing Organisation, provides a specialist service to ensure offenders with neuro-diversity are equipped to get the most out of mainstream support networks.

The project addresses obstacles to learning that come from cognitive skills deficits that are common in neuro-diverse conditions, such as Dyslexia and ADHD.

It focuses on building self-awareness, controlling emotion and playing to strengths.

Learners are empowered to use their own cognitive processes to challenge their own behaviour and develop techniques for managing their thought processes in a positive way.

Genius Within works with learners at HMPYOI Rochester who have a variety of complex needs and often have extremely negative experiences of formal education.

This project’s innovative approach provides learners with tools and techniques tailored to help them break away from the cycle of reoffending.

Barry, a learner at HMPYOI Rochester, said: “I am able to spell some words that I hadn’t learnt. It’s all been really good stuff. The stretches have helped. I do them every day. Being able to put myself in a good mood – it gets me to do stuff as well as the spelling – to get out of bed and go to the gym.”