Seven charities are to receive almost £3million in Scottish Government funding to deliver specialist services aimed at reducing the cycle of reoffending, Falkirk West MSP and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has announced.

Scottish community justice organisations Sacro, which has offices in Falkirk, and Apex Scotland, which delivers a range of services in Forth Valley, will share the pot of cash along with Families Outside, Positive Prison? Positive Futures, Turning Point Scotland, Venture Trust and Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities.

The money will help to fund a wide range of services, from employment training to help rehabilitate offenders to support for families of prisoners.

Mr Matheson said: “The specialist services these charities provide are a vital part of our vision to further reduce reoffending rates by addressing the underlying causes of crime.

“I want to see fewer ineffective short-term prison sentences and more community sentences, which help people to turn their lives around, keep crime down and communities safe.

“From early intervention to supporting reintegration back into the community, these charities are dedicated to working with people who have offended and supporting them to become contributing members of the community.”

Sacro chief executive Tom Halpin said: “I am delighted that Mr Matheson has been able to announce this significant grant allocation to our organisation. It recognises Sacro’s achievements in supporting those who use our services to improve their lives and those of their families and communities.”

Apex Scotland CEO Alan Staff added: “We are developing new and innovative solutions to the problems faced by people who have, or are at risk of getting, criminal convictions. These include training opportunities, social enterprises and diversion schemes. This funding allows us to not only deliver our existing activity in partnership with national and local government but to trial new approaches which are effective and sustainable.”