A few weeks after the big event and people are still talking about VisionShift and what they thought about it, others are asking how we got on and some people are asking how they can get involved next time as this missed out this time. This blog post is a review of VisionShift and how I think it went.

Overall, VisionShift was a huge success – when I set up the event I hoped that we would help at least one person, after the event I found we had helped loads of people and while at the event I could clearly see we had helped some of the prisoners that chose to attend.

One female inmate in particular came up to me, she was choked at the time and thanked me for organising the event adding that no-one else had ever done something like this for her before. She said she was really grateful and would never forget today, me or the people that attended.

Some of the catering companies that attended have offered interviews to some of the prisoners for day release placements and work on release, while the retail companies that attended also offered interviews for work on release and day release placements.

One company has also arranged further meetings with the prison to arrange day release work projects for many of the prisoners in a wide range of industries while a smaller company that attended on the day is offering one-to-one mentoring to one of the female prisoners who is keen to set up a business very similar to her own.

These were the clear / obvious successes of the day but there were lots more too – where prisoners built up their confidence by speaking to businesses, their self worth improved as they found that the community had not given up on them and pointers, thoughts and ideas were starting to grow in their minds. I am truly grateful to everyone that came to the event.

The male side went extremely well and they took to it like ducks to water, really engaging with the businesses and thinking more about their options for the future. The female side was much tougher, the ladies have a lower self esteem and many of them really struggled talking to businesses on a one-to-one basis. This is why we are looking to change things going forward.

When we repeat the event, which we plan to do in 6 months time – we will do the male side of the prison exactly as before, but with more businesses from the construction side. On a different day we will go into the female side of the prison and run the event completely differently. We will take in training companies, mentors, motivators and trainers who will run small workshops that the female prisoners can opt in and out of. With around 5, 20minute workshops running at one time allowing inmates to grow their confidence among friends.

Again, I would like to take this chance to thank all 53 business people who took one whole day out of their businesses to help with this event – you are amazing people!!!