“I find this intervention absolutely invaluable and a great support to both staff and prisoners”.
Quote from Staff member in one of the prisons in which we work.
HMP Leyhill – The Lobster Pot
The Lobster Pot is a prison based community centre that serves to encourage purposeful activity and social interaction for older prisoners at HMP Leyhill. We have activities and sessions happening daily all of which are geared towards the nine pathways of reducing reoffending. The Recoop staff build different relationships with the men compared to their prison staff and this benefits the men and the prison system as a whole and ensures older prisoners develop skills and strategies to live purposeful and active lives both in prison and on release. We work closely with most parts of the prison to deliver an excellent service for the men’s development and their progress is at the heart of what we do.
HMP Eastwood Park – The Rubies and Bluebelles
The Rubies is a circle of mutual support for the ladies over 50 at HMP Eastwood Park, which provides a space in a quieter environment, away from the hectic, noisy wings. The Bluebelles is a similar group for those aged 45-49.
We offer a range of creative sessions and purposeful activities plus relevant advice, info and advocacy. It is our hope that new skills, learnt in the group, plus discussion and 1:1 trauma work, will bring about changes in attitude and behaviour, as well as enhancement of personal wellbeing, gaining of confidence and the regaining of self-esteem. We believe that this raising of self-awareness impacts on the reduction of self-harming, loneliness, isolation and re-offending behaviour after release.
Recoop has been offering a regular ‘older’ forum group at HMP Erlestoke for nearly ten years and the format and content is moulded by the men at our quarterly planning meetings. Regular sessions are held with Governors to help escalate challenges and for the men to offer solutions to difficulties they’re facing. Guest speakers and community support organisations regularly attend to discuss issues impacting on our men and to help prepare them for transitioning into the community. This might be focussed on health, independent living or building links to reduce fear and anxiety in the resettlement planning.
Devon Prison Cluster – Buddy Training
We are currently delivering a Buddy support training programme in the three Devon Cluster prisons: HMPs Channings Wood, Exeter and Dartmoor. Recoop’s Buddy training and management service in the Devon prison cluster has continued to evolve to meet the emerging needs and growing demand. Following the introduction of the Care Act 2014, Recoop worked with the Local Authority and HMPPS to develop a bespoke, formalised training package adapting the National Care Certificate for use in prisons. In the resulting five years, Recoop has developed a suite of learning resources and materials including role plays, exercises, group discussions and specialist guest speakers to enhance the quality of the training so it meets Care Certificate standards whilst complementing and ensuring compliance with PSI 17/2015 (Prisoners Supporting Other Prisoners).
Over 200 prisoners nationally have been trained up as prison buddies to help support vulnerable prisoners with health and social care challenges. We are gaining increasing national recognition for our work and have contributed to seminal policy documents, most recently HMPPS’s Model for Operational Delivery (Older Prisoners) and PHE’s Health and Social Care Needs Assessments of the older prison population where our Buddy Support model features as good practice. This year Recoop and Devon County Council were recognised at the 2019 Social Worker of the Year Awards Creative and Innovative Social Work Practice category – Runner up Silver Award.
NW Buddy Cluster – Buddy training and management
In 2020 Recoop started a new Buddy cluster three-year contract in the North West. HMPs Kirkham, Preston and Wymott are now receiving a Recoop Buddy support training and management service. We’ve lifted the Devon model with all the learning and replicated it in this new cluster. Implementing this scalable model is exciting for the charity. We have a number of other interested prison clusters looking to implement similar services in the coming months.
Other prisons (HMPs The Verne, Kirkham and Usk) have opted to manage the Buddy Support Worker programme themselves with initial training given by Recoop.
Whilst our Distraction Pack “food for thought” was originally introduced for use in prisons, their reach is now far wider. As well as an ever-increasing number of prisons subscribing, courts in England & Wales and Police Custody Suites are also subscribing to receive the monthly pack and we are delighted to have been asked by NHS England to produce a fortnightly issue to be distributed to all rough-sleepers who have been offered accommodation during COVID-19. All recognise the impact the packs have on filling time constructively. Elements of the packs are also being distributed to British prisoners around the globe.
HMPPS Co-Financing Organisation Round 3 (CFO3)
Recoop is funded via the HM Prison & Probation Service Co-financing Organisation (HMPPS CFO) until August 2023. HMPPS CFO is a £196m European Social Fund resettlement programme which delivers projects aimed at improving employability, which are seen as key to changing lives and reducing reoffending. We deliver it in the South West on behalf of Shaw Trust.
One of the core objectives of CFO3 is to improve social inclusion. Many of the participants we will be working with have experienced multiple difficulties accessing education and training – excluding them from finding better opportunities after release. With support and collaboration from our partners within the Shaw Trust delivery framework, we will be providing workshops and targeted support for individuals in custody and within a number of community settings.
To support every offender on the programme, a case manager will work with each individual to guide them and provide advice and support. Participants will also be offered accredited personal development and vocational courses. We will be also be offering specific services to participants under 24 years of age and those over 50 years of age.
Visit the HMPPS CFO website to learn more about their work.
To find out more about Recoop and how we help professionals working with older people with convictions, please contact us.