A CHRISTIAN church will be taking part in the Great Manchester Run to run a course to help Manchester’s ex-offenders find jobs.

Manchester Life Centre, set up by the city centre church Faith Life Centre in 2015, hopes to raise £7,000 to run a ‘Clean Sheets‘ course where churches support prisoners and ex-offenders into the world of work.

The ‘Clean Sheets’ course will seek to help inmates while still in prison and then work with them after they are released to give them a ‘fresh start’ by helping them to be considered for local jobs.

The church aims to work with local employers to improve ex-offenders chances if there are job vacancies, training places or volunteering opportunities available.

Married to a probation officer, Chris Anthony, director of Manchester Life Centre, said: “While some people may have the attitude of they are just a pain to society, we want to help people start a new life and do something different to what got them in there in the first place.

“We also know to match the reasons why people end up in prison, it is because of where they come from, so if we can help address things like unemployment, and debt and need, then actually it gives a different set of choices than when you haven’t got them.”

Fifteen prison volunteers and job coaches attended the first Clean Sheets meeting on 2 March where Clean Sheet chief executive Martin Howe delivered training challenging stereotypes about ex-offenders.

“If more funds are raised it expands the programmes to help the disadvantaged realise their potential”  – Calvin Osbart, running for Manchester Life Centre

Social worker Calvin Osbart, who will be taking part in the run, said: “Charities play a crucial role in supporting the most vulnerable people in society and as a church we have a duty to help eradicate the stereotypes by showing them love and giving them the second opportunity to get back on their feet.”

The Life Centre is hoping the money raised will also go towards setting up a Money Course to help people who struggle to manage their finances.

It will be the third year in a row the Christian organisation will take part in the famous Great Manchester Run alongside thousands of others.

The team at the run last year

The Great Manchester Run will take place on 28 May 2017 and you can find out more information about the big event here.

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