In two years, LandWorks’ volunteers and supporters have raised over £100,000 in community donations and helped secure a grant from the The Big Lottery Fund to secure 60 per cent of the project’s funding for the next three years. Supporters also provide trainees with the all-important networks and contacts they need to move on to a life free of crime.
The strength of LandWorks’ community backing has recently been recognised by the Nottinghamshire-based criminal justice network No Offence! with nomination as one of three finalists in the ‘Partnership’ category of the 2015 Redemption and Justice Awards. The results of the awards will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester Cathedral on Friday 9 October 2015.
Juliet Lyon CBE, Director of the Prison Reform Trust was guest speaker at LandWorks’ birthday BBQ, which marks the project’s launch in 2013. From welcoming its first four trainees to the Quarry Field site on the Dartington estate, the project has supported 21 current and former prisoners, of whom just over one third (eight) so far have gone on to find full-time employment.
Community support is vital to the scheme’s success, says project manager Chris Parsons: ‘LandWorks could not exist without the fantastic interest in, and support from our local community – from the person who gave one chicken, to the people who provide funds, job opportunities, accommodation, skills and expertise. The BBQ is our way of thanking all our supporters in person, and celebrating all that we have achieved together over the past two years.’
The scheme helps current and former prisoners to develop the skills and confidence they need to enable them to choose a life away from offending, to find a job and play a positive role in our communities.
Work-based training such as landscaping, market gardening, and carpentry goes hand in hand with developing life and social skills, and building self-worth. Around £37,000 a year of tax-payers money is saved for every LandWorks trainee who does not reoffend and return to prison.