Opposites, or not?


I doubt I will forget that day. The day I mentioned a trainee police officer would be joining us for a week-long placement. Not because of what was said… worse, nothing was said! Just a stony silence, eyes down, feet shuffling, dark muttering, you get the idea… two sides from opposite ends of the spectrum about to come together!

It was fine, in fact it’s been great and we have now had 5 trainee police officers over the last 2 years.

The PeN Project has captured a great interview with our most recent police trainee…

I am a police officer, you get sworn in on Friday of the first week, so it’s all done and dusted, I’m working towards a diploma in policing, which is a two year overall thing and as part of that you have to do 80 hours in the community, so this week at LandWorks comes under that…

It’s not really what I thought, I thought it would just be kind of like a school type sort of thing, teaching people to get back into the workplace, but it’s not, it’s very relaxed but in a regimented way, so they’ve got a plan there, and the variety is so good as well, as I say every day has been different. Such as making and painting the tiles, and I helped lay that path down there with Martin, I was doing a bit of raking out of the stones and stuff, and then I was helping Brett with the ‘good garden/bad garden’, just taking out all the weeds that were in there, made a load of those candle things, just a bit of drilling, I helped Graham with that bench that they made, did a bit of cutting the wood to size on the lathe…

You know what? It’s been great, I thought because everyone knows that I’m a student police officer, I thought that some of them would be like oh there’s no way I’m talking to her, but everyone has been more than happy to talk which has been great, you know sharing their experiences, everyone is human…

I just figure you’ve got to give everyone a chance, like if you’re constantly putting that negative spin on things then, how are they ever going to get out of that dark place that they’ve been in? You need to give people the opportunity to improve their lives and to live…

I’ve learnt a lot from it, lots of things, I’ve learned more about prisons than I did before, that’s for sure, I always thought when you come out of prison, that you had to have certain things put in place, not at all, I was so surprised by that, it made me understand a bit more why people re-offend so easily and so quickly ‘cos what have they got?

It’s amazing how varied everyone is and what they can bring, it’s good, everyone’s been really great with talking and that, they just get on and chat don’t you as you’re working? I can’t think of any bad things, it’s all really good, it’s great as well, with the commissions and the stall, and you’re bringing some revenue back in, and it gives them a focus, and then something to work towards, and think oh yeah I’m making this and someone’s is going to actually buy it, I think that’s really good…

I think that as well, the staff that have been chosen to work here, definitely make it, because you have to get the right people don’t you? If you choose someone who was a bit, wasn’t good at talking, or listening it would impact LandWorks, so that’s definitely good, and everyone’s gelled pretty well, it’s definitely like a family feel as opposed to just work, everyone enjoys coming here…

That’s the thing that you need though isn’t it, I suppose it’s always on your conscience that people are really judging you, but you come here and like for me, I just felt like I slotted in and got on, at first I was a bit apprehensive about it, I thought oh I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but literally within the first few hours I was just chatting away and cracking on… it’s been great.

The PeN Project has been running for 9 months and published 45 blogs capturing many stories, giving an inside view into people’s lives as they pass through LandWorks.

The site has attracted over 6,000 views and read in over 55 countries.

Have a look at the website by clicking here, and the Facebook page here.

Our other bit of big news is to do with the Big Lottery Fund. Peter Ainsworth (Big Lottery Fund UK Chair) visited us earlier this year and he decided to mention LandWorks in the opening page of the Fund’s Annual Report 2016/17

“It’s always a joy to visit the projects we fund. So many of them are small-scale organisations and it’s inspiring to see what they achieve. Take LandWorks in Devon, for example – a charity that offers current and recent prisoners the opportunity to get involved in horticulture and creative arts and crafts. It changes the lives of people who have, for whatever reason, taken a wrong turn and gives them back a sense of purpose and engagement with their local community. The project has a wonderful track record of reducing reoffending rates and leading people into worthwhile employment. It is grassroots projects like this that make me proud to be part of the Big Lottery Fund.”


– Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund UK Chair

The Big Lottery award grants to over 10,000 charities per year, so we are delighted that Peter singled us out and noted LandWorks out of so many other great projects.


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