What’s it really like for the men who work on our projects in prison? “Colin” is a 38-year-old single male offender who was originally serving his sentence at HMP Haverigg where he trained in our bike workshop. He was transferred to HMP Kirkham, a Category D (or “open”) prison in Lancashire, to serve the remainder of his sentence just after we opened a new bike project there. He is due for release in May 2014.
Our Technical Support Officer says that Colin has built up his bike repair skills and is working to a very high standard. He provides peer support, helping other participants in the workshop at Kirkham. The prison instructors have given him additional responsibilities to identify and log the parts needed by the workshop.
Colin served a custodial sentence for drug offences on a number of occasions and is separated from his three children who live with other family members. He now says he wants to move away from his offending behaviour and start a new, crime-free life. To help him achieve his ambition, we are supporting him to undertake additional training on the Velotech cycle repair and maintenance course through a day release programme. Colin hope to achieve the Gold level of accreditation which will be recognised by potential employers.
We are also in discussions with the prison to enable him to relocate to Northumberland when he is released. He has expressed an interest in volunteering and working in our Northumberland Community projects that currently in development and hopes he will be able to re-connect to his family in the North East.
But for now, he’s working hard to restore old bicycles for people in need and to build up his skills.
“It makes you feel good to do this – it makes me feel like I want to get up and come to work.”
“The project is brilliant – it makes you realise how bad things are for some people and I like that someone else is getting something because of what I do – it’s a privilege to be part of it.”