Have you heard of the fantastic charity/social enterprise Fine Cell Work which was set up by Lady Anne Tree in the late 1990's? If you haven't it's well worth exploring. Below is a brief insight.
Prison Calendar, Designed by AA Gill
Volunteer Work - Business Mentoring
As a small business it can be challenging to contribute much financially or donate to numerous goody bags. But the one thing I can donate is a slice of my time ... and so that is what I have done. A few hours every fortnight to support the work the team do with their Open the Gate programme.
Every fortnight I make my way to their Hub in Battersea (a buzzing Hub full of creativity and talent) to spend a couple of hours with an apprentice. All the apprentices are ex-prisoners who have taken the responsibility of making a go again on the outside of 'The Clink'.
Inside these apprentices have been inspired, by talented volunteers, to learn how to stitch. These volunteers go into the prisons and get the prisoners to explore the world of stitching. As you will see from Stephen's words the stitching can really help with mental health and also, importantly, brings in an income which the prisoner can either save, spend on treats inside or share with the family on the outside.
Designers who have conjured up cushion designs include; Cath Kidston, Kit Kemp, Blithfield, Melissa Wyndham, Blithfield and even the wonderful food critic, AA Gill.
Commissions include the highly talented author Tracy Chevalier. Her commission of The Sleep Quilt explores what sleep means in a prison. Its poignant and potent. If you can get hold of the book 'The Sleep Quilt' by Tracy Chevalier and Fine Cell Work ... you are extremely lucky. It filled my eyes with tears.
All the pieces are available to buy from their online store.
Rain Shadow Blue Leaf, Designed by Kit Kemp
I believe in being given a second chance in life. I believe that most of us were not created to generate carnage. It happens. Sometimes people loose the plot, sometimes in a massive way.
The common thread; their expertise with stitching.