William Wilberforce MP championed the cause of slaves in England in the 18th and 19th centuries until the abolition of slavery became a reality in the Commonwealth. He also led the movement for the second reformation of manners, seeking to see transformation in society and a reduction in crime.
In London, the William Wilberforce Trust was established in 2011 bearing the name of this significant social reformer. The trust was established to work for the transformation of society and the restoration of community. Comprising a number of social action projects, the William Wilberforce Trust exists to provide practical support and defend the rights of those affected by debt, addiction, homelessness, unemployment, trafficking, sexual exploitation, depression, isolation and vulnerability. It meets with, supports and empowers people irrespective of their position or background, knowing that each individual has unique potential. The trust seeks to see people fulfilled by living independently; building a supportive, lasting community around them.
In 2013 the William Wilberforce Foundation was established in Australia to support Churches and community groups to care for marginalized and disadvantaged Australians, particularly focusing on; ex-offenders, addiction and family breakdown.
To support those coming out of Prison the William Wilberforce Foundation trains communities to be Caring For Ex-Offender Communities. These communities will meet someone coming out of prison at the gate and provide mentoring, friendship and practical support such as accommodation and support with job training and employment. The recidivism rate can be dramatically reduced when these basic needs are met.
To support those struggling with addiction the William Wilberforce Foundation provides a 16 session course called The Recovery Course. The course is based on the 12-Step Program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and permission has been given for the use of this tried and tested method. The course is multi-addiction, is based around a meal and each session features a video presentation with small group discussion afterwards. The video makes the course easy to run and discreet as it can be run in any location.
To support those experiencing family breakdown the William Wilberforce Foundation provides four courses; The Marriage Preparation Course, The Marriage Course, The Parenting Children Course and The Parenting Teenagers Course. These courses are each five sessions long and the sessions are given by a video presentation, accompanied by a meal and small group discussion. The video makes the course easy to run in any location such as prisons and schools and along with homes Churches or function centers.
The William Wilberforce Foundation trains local people to run these programs and courses in their own local community. Not only does this mean the programs and courses can be run in many locations around Australia, it also means the courses are truly local, run by local volunteers who care about making a difference in their own community.