Introduction Firm geographical boundaries between yourself and competitors can often be beneficial but when you live on an Island it can make things difficult when in need of resources such as volunteers.
Aims of the project Expand the volunteer role to encompass the workforce available at HMP and to provide meaningful tasks that engage prisoners with the local community in a positive manner.
Approach used Lots of meetings with HMP to work through as many options as possible to engage the workforce with a range of projects: recycling of newspapers into bags, upcycling furniture, and production of concrete garden ornaments and hanging/sizing/steaming of clothing.
Working together through the processes and procedures required when dealing with a high security environment.
Promotion of the project was important and branding and signage has been developed to inform and engage customers.
Results Fortnightly deliveries/collections to HMP allow sufficient time for processing items in the various workshops and different projects. Financially we both benefit with different remuneration for different items. Community engagement is positive with customers timing their visits to our shops to coincide with deliveries of the latest stock. The prisoners look forward to receiving before and after photos of the upcycled items and are making a display in the workshop to encourage participation from others and increasing the drive to learn more skills and take on increasingly difficult items.
Conclusion The best solutions are often simple, yet unexpected - Julian Casablancas
Although it took time to sort out the processes required it is now routine and as easy as outsourcing to any supplier. The initial reluctance of some to involve with HMP was quickly overcome and very positively received by our community. I would encourage everyone to look locally for solutions; in a world that has become smaller through the internet we often lose sight of the skills and opportunities right under our noses.
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