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Monday, 8 August 2016

HMP The Mount

HMP The Mount 30th May – 3rd June

The first time that we have been to HMP The Mount as far as I can remember, but that’s not very far these days!

A fantastic event made truly great by the group of guides that I worked with there. It is pretty true to say that there are not that many Jewish offenders languishing in British Jails, but at HMP The Mount, I had the pleasure to work with half a dozen Jewish prisoners, who had volunteered their services as exhibition guides for the event. Their own history and knowledge of Anne Frank and the Holocaust was perhaps not surprising but their commitment to explaining the story and the lessons of these times was truly exemplary, and was very inspiring for visitors to the exhibition. I was very heartened to see the no. 1 Governor Mark Drury in attendance at the closing event on Friday where our special guest Speaker Steven Frank held us all spellbound with his story of survival from Theresienstadt concentration camp, and how he came to England at the end of the war and made it his home.

Our special thanks to Head of Diversity MR Jim Bridger for doing such a grand job in organising it all.

Steven Frank

Thursday, 4 August 2016

HMP Oakwood

I first met with the Equalities team at HMP Oakwood at the end of 2015, where we discussed having the event there in 2016. It was going to be a very special event, stretching over 2 weeks in February.
By coincidence, our very special Trustee and Key speaker Eva Schloss was going to be making a film with the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation at around this time, and so it was proposed that The JBC film Eva and the exhibition whilst at Oakwood. This request was put to the authorities but alas the idea was eventually turned down. This was a great disappointment to everyone concerned – but never mind.
We worked with a great group of prisoners who acted as peer mentors in presenting the exhibition to both fellow inmates as well as staff.
We had some wonderful feedback from the visitors throughout the event, and it was a very positive experience all round.
Many thanks to Neesha Ecclestone, Patrick Woodhead and Dan Daley who organised this event and for all their support throughout.

We are re-visiting the prison again in April/May when we will present 2 workshops – our ‘Free 2 Choose’ debate, and our ‘Creative writing’ workshop with Leah Thorn.  Eva Schloss will also be speaking there in April.

Monday, 16 May 2016

HMP & YOI Swinfen Hall Nov/Dec 2015

BirdsArbury Court, acrylic on canvas, The Partnerships in Care Women in Secure Hospitals Platinum Award for Painting

The very last event of 2015 was once again in a Young Offenders Institution.
Swinfen Hall was a very memorable event, and once again we were extremely fortunate to work with a talented and intelligent group of young lads, who were very much committed to the project and had immense enthusiasm for their roles in this event.
There was a very special evening organised for staff and family to attend, in which the exhibition was presented to a group of 70 guests. The highlight of the event that evening was the talk from Holocaust survivor Mindu Hornick, which was very well received by everyone, and we were especially grateful to Governor Teresa Clarke for attending the Thursday evening event as well as the Closing event the following day.

Special thanks to Equality Officer Steph Morrow for all her hard work in making this such a success.

HMYOI Cookham Wood (November 2015)

Book of Dreams, HMP Bronzefield, cardboard, newspaper, tissue paper, glue and foam, Gold Award for Hand-made Books

An event characterised by the unstinting efforts of Diversity Officer Helen Nixon. Everyone agreed that Helen had gone ‘above and beyond’ to make this event work, and was extremely encouraging to all the young lads who were our guides for the week.
A very good percentage of the prison population were able to visit the exhibition, and it was very gratifying to see how much they learned from this experience.
There is some excellent work goes on in this prison, and the care that is shown for the young people’s futures is very admirable. It can’t be easy – well done to all!

HMP Lowdham Grange (Oct/Nov 2015)

Binds, The Ayr Clinic, PiC, Scotland, photographic print on paper, Photography

Yet another prison that we have not been to for a number of years but which invited us back there again in 2015.
Although Lowdham was a slow starter this time around, it gradually picked up by the time the word spread through the population, and then the numbers began to increase dramatically.
Eva Clarke was scheduled to be our guest speaker, but unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute due to illness, but is definitely going to re-schedule her talk for early 2016.

I was very grateful to all concerned for making the event such a success – especially Pam Ealden for all her efforts that week.