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Lobster Pot end of year report

Tuesday, December 21st 2010


Lobster Pot end of year report


The Lobster Pot is the centre for all men aged over 50 at HMP Leyhill.  It is managed by RECOOP (Resettlement and Care of Older ex-Offenders and Prisoners) and developed as part of an organic process in consultation with relevant prison staff and in touch with the evolving needs of the older prisoner population at Leyhill. 

In the 4 months since opening we have conducted initial consultations with the men and a quarterly review of individual users’ views and opinions. We have increased our opening times in line with recruitment and training of orderlies.  We are now open full time during the day and are due to open one evening a week from January 2011. 

Phase 1 of the project focused on the retired and unable to work and ensured structured daily purposeful activity was in place and a further emphasis on bringing in relevant speakers pertinent to the older population.  All of this group receive a weekly programme of activities/events through their door. Speakers have included Age UK, and  BCHA (Bournemouth Churches Housing Association) .  A wide range of structured activities have been delivered to the target group by RECOOP staff, volunteers, guests and the prisoners employed in the centre. 

Phase 1 culminated in two open days to showcase the work and skills of the men and the activities they have been involved in.  It was also an opportunity to further increase knowledge of the service amongst internal prison staff and the wider older prisoner population.  The open day was well attended and gave the men good opportunity to showcase their individual achievements and perhaps more importantly their cohesiveness as a group through effective and successful teamwork. 

Phase 2 of the project will see efforts to encourage use of the centre by those aged over 50 who are not able to use during the day as they work either at Leyhill or through the gate.  Phase 2 also offers the opportunity to further increase a whole prison joined up approach to the centre and its facilities.  Residential services will be implementing a trial of care plans for the most vulnerable beginning January 2011.  The Lobster Pot will be integral to some of the social care initiatives involved in the care plans.  Health and well-being initiatives will be offered either at the Lobster Pot or through referral.  We have a prisoner trained level 3 Health Trainer who will be offering the men information and advice in areas of diet, food nutrition and mental well-being and will be joined up with gymnasium staff who further offer exercise for well-being, and relevant expertise in mental well-being.  In joint partnership we intend to ensure the older prisoner population has a variety of initiatives and strategies to enable them to prioritise and take personal responsibility for their own physical and mental well-being. 

The Lobster Pot will also be pro-active in identifying areas of concern/interest for the older men and to hold regular focus groups in partnership with Leyhill.  This will offer a further channel to ensure older voices are heard and also an impetus to create relevant services and facilities within the Lobster Pot itself. 

Community engagement continues to be a priority at the lobster Pot.  We have a small group of regular core volunteers who provide different skills at the Lobster Pot and are committed to purposeful and productive activity as a step towards both meaningful purpose and a platform for achievement.  All volunteers have received relevant training including Prison Awareness. 

In working towards Phase 3 of the project, the ultimate aim is for the Lobster Pot to become a “One Stop Shop” for all those over 50 in providing relevant information and advice on a range of subjects pertaining to release and resettlement, to provide a range of strategies in accessing healthy living lifestyle choices, and to continue to provide purposeful activity for all older prisoners. 

The success of the Lobster Pot is a testament to the ongoing partnership work between RECOOP and HMP Leyhill.  In setting up the centre, providing its daily function and its ongoing evolvement and progress, each step has been in consultation and discussion with HMP Leyhill. 

In enabling creative solutions within a custodial environment, it is fair to say success could not be achieved without strong partnership and effective working relationships.

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