Chris’ Blog – Dear Mum

Dear Mum

I am so glad you are coming to the Supporters’ Day today. There is a lot to show you; it’s been a busy year and the lads are rightly proud of their achievements. We’ve a great cohort at the moment, all with different challenges but you will like them.

Getting the new building completed was quite a milestone; the high level of finish that the guys wanted to achieve and did so, is impressive. Nolan built a most beautiful table out a huge slab of wood.

Graham, who put so much effort into creating the new building, has now left prison and is working at LandWorks 3 days a week, making all sorts of beautiful wood products. You should have a look on our website – http://www.landworks.org.uk

This is our 4th open day and it feels like we are really established with ever increasing evidence that LandWorks is making a difference, helping support men into new and settled lives.

I think the Prison and Probation Services see this too. We are a free offer to them and our relationships have grown ever stronger. Both organisations are in difficult times, a recent statistic shows the number of suicides in prison has already reached 78 this year, with a further 35 deaths as yet undecided…by any measure a dreadful indicator of a failing system.

A new lad joined us this week, Lee. He is our 35th trainee.

You wouldn’t believe how difficult his life is. He is 10 days out of prison; he got a £47 release grant (standard). As you can imagine, that ran out some days ago. The benefits system now pays in arrears so at best he has to wait a few more days before getting any support. I know from experience that this is unlikely. He is still about 12 days away from any payment, minus his release grant.

The Job Centre would say that they encourage him to take up a job and not rely on benefits. I hope you meet him at the Open Day, he is a nice lad, shell-shocked from a few years in prison and just not ready to work or actually I doubt he is capable of work just yet! If we force people into impossible situations they will react. He has to feed himself!

On a more cheerful note our market garden is looking fantastic and Monika has inspired all the guys to get involved. We sell a great array of fresh veg and this makes quite a contribution to funding the project.

Do you remember Alan, aka Kranky? He left prison this week and was heading into a job. Alan and I are the same age. Bit of a worry, not sure how he is getting on! Bit like kids, eh!

See you later

Chris

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