As many of you will know, I volunteer at Peterborough Prison, teaching male prisoners as part of the Business Studies NVQ every other week for a few hours. As well as this I speak and organise speakers at the Achievement Day and I organised the VisionShift project in July.
Sent by Michael Gove, Dame Sally and 4 colleagues visited Peterborough Prison as an example of how prisons across the country could be. I was invited to attend this meeting and to speak to Dame Sally and her team because they were keen to know how local businesses were involved in Peterborough Prison.
I attended with Julie from YMCA and Grant from Argos and we sat and chatted with Dame Sally and her team. I explained what involvement the Creative Content Company had had with the prison, before going on to talk about the VisionShift project when we bought over 50 businesses / business owners into the prison to talk about what they do, to discuss job opportunities, to inspire and motivate as well as shifting the vision of both the prisoners and the business owners that attended the prison and met the prisoners.
Dame Sally agreed that it was a great idea and thanked myself, Julia and Grant for our hard work before adding that she felt it was a shame this was not the case everywhere. What if a prisoner was released to Glasgow, for example, and they went to Argos there but were not offered a job as they were not yet employing / or being encouraged to employ ex-offenders.
Of course I fully agree with Dame Sally on this point, but every project has to start somewhere and for Argos and VisionShift those projects have started in Peterborough. Of course I want every ex-offender to get that same chance but how can I do that?
The best thing I can do is to continue doing what I do and continue talking about it, blogging about it and shouting about it on social media to grow awareness of what I’m doing in the hope it encourages others to do exactly the same.
So that is what I am doing right now – in the hope that it encourages one of you lovely readers (or more) to do exactly the same, or better!