National accolade for one of CLI’s inspirational founders, Peter.

National accolade for one of CLI’s inspirational founders, Peter.

A man born and raised in Ashton who turned his back on a life of crime has won a national award for his work with offenders leaving prison.

Peter Atherton, 41 years old and now lives in Reddish was awarded the NoOffence! Inspirational Award at the Redemption & Justice Awards earlier this month.

Serving over ten custodial sentences from the age of 14, Peter decided to turn his life around in 2004. He went to college, found employment and eventually began volunteering with the Probation Service.

The father of two founded Community Led Initiatives (CLI) in 2010 to help offenders find their place in society. The company started as a project working with the probation service and Greater Manchester Police, became a social enterprise and five years on has grown into an agency that assists offenders across the region.

Alongside 1 on 1 mentoring they also support socially-excluded people into employment, help people with addictions and their families and organise residential events for young people who are at risk of offending.

Held at Manchester Cathedral, the awards recognised nine winners, all of who have achieved personal change and now support others on their journey, and those who help to make change possible. Peter’s category included another 10 nominations from across the UK.

After his win, Peter said: “I’m so honoured to win this award. I needed people to believe in me when I decided to turn my life around and without the support of others I may not have gotten to where I am today.

“Everyone deserves a second chance and the people that we work with need that extra bit of help to re-join society. It’s amazing to be recognised in this way.”

Richard Rowley from the NoOffence! CIC said: “Peter’s nomination came in because the person who put him forward believes that he changes communities from the inside out through believing the best in all people that society neglects. He is a living example of how change is possible for those who consider themselves beyond help.”

ACC Garry Shewan from Greater Manchester Police added: “We have been working with Peter and CLI for many years and the relationships that they build with people coming out of prison is invaluable – people that engage with CLI for over six months after being released from prison are 75 per cent less likely to reoffend.

“Peter embodies the fact that anyone can turn their life around with the right support and grit and determination, and we are delighted to work with him.”

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