New funding available to improve outcomes and wellbeing for speakers of English as a second or additional language

The Bell Foundation's Criminal Justice Programme is seeking new grant partnerships in 2022.

The Bell Foundation is excited to be seeking new grant partnerships in 2022. Following the launch of the groundbreaking research series Language Barriers in the Criminal Justice System, The Bell Foundation is launching a new funding round to address the key issues facing speakers of English as a second or additional language in the criminal justice system.

The Foundation is looking to fund new partners whose services can improve outcomes and wellbeing for anyone in contact with the criminal justice system who speaks English as a second or additional language (ESL). This can be through specialist services or through adaptations to existing services. New grants partnerships will also contribute to furthering the evidence base on ‘what works’ for speakers of ESL, with an external evaluator offering robust impact measurement that can strengthen grantees’ own evidence for future fundraising.

The evidence

Language Barriers in the Criminal Justice System shows that the criminal justice system does not effectively support language diversity. Staff do not have access to sufficient, high quality language support or the knowledge or training to effectively use it. Many practitioners resort to strategies for ‘getting by’ such as Google Translate or using family or friends as interpreters, sometimes in inappropriate contexts. Services are generally monolingual, and staff are not given the necessary training or resources to support people in their care who speak ESL.

This leads to many speakers of ESL, who are often already vulnerable due to the intersection of language needs and other vulnerabilities such as insecure immigration status and social and economic isolation, having a poorer experience of the criminal justice system and facing additional barriers to accessing justice and rehabilitation. People in contact with the criminal justice system who speak ESL therefore often see worse outcomes and a greater deterioration of wellbeing when compared to peers who speak English as a first language.

New funding opportunity: breaking down language barriers to improved outcomes and wellbeing

Led by this evidence, The Bell Foundation aims to build the capacity of the criminal justice sector to support language diversity. It will do this by funding projects or services aimed at reducing language barriers to improve outcomes or wellbeing for anyone in contact with the criminal justice system in England and Wales who speaks ESL.

Partners will be funded to meet three strategic aims:

  1. To fund and evaluate new or existing projects and services that demonstrably improve outcomes and wellbeing for people who speak ESL.
  2. To fund and evaluate adaptations or improvements to existing projects and services that improve outcomes and wellbeing for service users to improve accessibility for people who speak ESL.
  3. To evaluate services and gather evidence to improve understanding of ‘what works’ in justice and rehabilitation for people who speak ESL.

What is meant by ‘outcomes’ and ‘wellbeing’?

‘Outcomes’ can be defined as any positive change as a consequence of engagement with the project or service, such as in rehabilitation or resettlement, education or employment, personal or relational.

Wellbeing can refer to improved physical or mental health, reduced stress or anxiety, positive personal development, or another change or improvement to an individual’s life.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Expressions of Interest are particularly welcome from organisations:

  • Whose leadership speak ESL.
  • Whose leadership are from communities experiencing racial inequity.
  • Whose leadership have lived experience of the criminal justice system or are from the communities the organisation exists to support.
  • Whose leadership have other protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010.
  • Who are based and operate outside London.

For more information about this funding opportunity, please visit the Criminal Justice Programme Partnership page.

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