Introduction In March 2012 Willowbrook started to support the rehabilitation of currently serving offenders by offering volunteer placements in our Warehouse. This was a very bold move by the Hospice which had previously relied on traditional volunteering methods.
Aims The Hospice’s Strategic Business plan is to broaden the diversity of its volunteering by giving volunteer opportunities to young people who may not have come across the Hospice movement in their lives. Willowbrook could provide work experience to prisoner’s approaching the end of their sentence supporting the Prisons Outreach Placement programme and raise extra funds to provide for patient care.
Methods The views of all the participants needed to be taken into account - a visit to the prison arranged meeting with the Prison Placement Officer, a business case was proposed to the Hospice Trustees, Senior Managers and Warehouse Staff. In May 2012 the first prisoners arrived at the warehouse.
Results For the Hospice - over the 18 months the 10 prisoners have made a fantastic contribution with over 5000 hours of support the warehouse has been able to increase its contribution to patient care by 12%, all the prisoners have settled in quickly with both Hospice staff and existing volunteers.
For the Prison Service - Willowbrook is a highly reputable organisation, they know the prisoners will be supervised and provided with training.
For the Prisoner - they feel more fulfilled and have more skills to take them back into ‘normal’ life.
Conclusions The Hospice Prison Volunteer Placement programme continues to be a highly successful partnership between the Prison Service, prisoners and the Hospice. The hospice gains more volunteering time and funds, the prisoners have gained confidence, team working and independence skills that they can utilise outside the prison and the Prison Service has a professional, reliable organisation to work with.
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