This website uses cookies to improve your experience. You can learn more about cookies and our cookie usage here - OK I have read that thanks
x
 Forgotten your password?

News

"An inspiring example of the support that older prisoners badly need."

Monday, July 18th 2016 - Ryan Harman, Prison Reform Trust

When researching the challenges faced by older people in prison, one of the projects I have seen repeatedly referenced as a beacon of good practice is the Lobster Pot at HMP Leyhill. Having already seen some of the great work that is being done by RECOOP in HMP Erlestoke and HMP Guys Marsh earlier this year, I was therefore delighted when I was invited to visit the project last month.

On arrival at the prison my hosts for the day, Jon and Fatima, met me at the entrance and escorted me to the project. Once inside the Lobster Pot, it would be easy to forget you are in a prison at all. It looks and feels just like a busy day centre you might find in the community. There were men engaging in animated conversations and sociable activities to help pass the time. Others were sitting quietly, engrossed in a newspaper or a book. Some had come to chat with the staff to get advice and reassurances about their current situation. A prisoner rep for the centre was adding an event to the busy timetable of activities and talks that was displayed on the wall for the coming month. I was given the immediate impression that this was a safe, engaging and well valued space.

The biggest asset the Lobster Pot has is its staff. As Jon kindly showed me round the grounds, he stopped to exchange words of encouragement and friendly quips with people we passed, and was beckoned over in the lunch hall and in the workshops by those wanting to share concerns and appreciative words. This rapport meant that it was very easy to find people willing to show me their accommodation and tell me a little of their personal experiences. It was obvious that many of the men have a real sense of trust for the team. This was not just with the case with the older prisoners that the project is aimed at – the team have clearly built strong relationships with prisoners of all ages and with staff throughout the prison. As a result the Lobster Pot feels firmly embedded in the culture and day to day life of the prison as a whole.

My visit was completed with a session arranged at the day centre with a group of service users. As well as being able to explain a little about the Advice and Information service we run at Prison Reform Trust, it was an important chance to speak with members of the fastest growing population within the prison estate. As we discussed some of the challenges that people had experienced throughout their sentences, one fact became abundantly clear – the amount that they relied on projects like the Lobster Pot was enormous, and some were not sure how they would have managed their time there without it.

With such apparent benefits to the population and to the prison in general, we really hope that funding for projects such as The Lobster Pot continue, and that these can be used across the estate as an inspiring example of the support that older prisoners badly need.

Back to the News Index

Latest Tweets follow us!
  • Transition 50+ Resettlement Programme “really provides a focus for the men, some of whom have spent a very long tim… https://t.co/5r9ZKJ9D0n10:05am, Mar 18, 2019
  • Just published: 'A Different Sense of Time' – a portfolio of RECOOP’s age-appropriate services to aid prisons find… https://t.co/zGMs8LY5nu11:25am, Feb 19, 2019
  • Over 34,000 individuals benefited from RECOOP's 50+ Day Centres in 2018 https://t.co/FR4jwYZkZx10:29am, Feb 06, 2019
  • RECOOP’s Distraction Packs address the need for prisoners to “…. access stimulating in-cell activities to help them… https://t.co/axl9pTpqTS9:20am, Jan 23, 2019
  • We were delighted to be invited to The Langley House Trust’s carol service at The Knole in Cheltenham. Merry Christ… https://t.co/5XLyDRc0vA10:04am, Dec 20, 2018
  • We are delighted to have been awarded a further 3-year contract to continue to provide Day Centre provision for the… https://t.co/yuoYzJKnlp9:15am, Dec 18, 2018
  • Multi-faith Remembrance Service and tree planting ceremony held at HMP Dartmoor in conjunction with @RECOOP_UK and… https://t.co/Tj3kfPqad69:28am, Nov 27, 2018
  • Skills learned by one man at the Lobster Pot (over 50s Day Centre at HMP Leyhill) have proved to be invaluable post… https://t.co/sKWYTbVchB11:17am, Nov 20, 2018
  • Social care in prisons in England & Wales-A thematic report/Oct 18 recommends “any prisoner providing social care s… https://t.co/gnEl0BerHJ9:22am, Oct 24, 2018
  • Aldo Trust grant helps support prisoners directly via RECOOP https://t.co/bwhiVuGPQQ9:10am, Oct 15, 2018
Monday, March 18th 2019
Transition is a short Resettlement Programme designed specifically for those who are over the age of 50 and in a custodial setting. The Programme has been delivered in a number of prisons across England on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis. We’ve re...
RECOOP projects win Platinum Award 2014 & 2015