Teaching the men in the workshop new skills and problem solving can help their rehabiliation and chances when they are released. It is most rewarding for the men to know that they are helping others less fortunate than themselves.

The wheelchair repair workshop has been running in HMP Garth since 1999, formerly supported by the Inside Out Trust, the precursor to the Margaret Carey Foundation. Although focussing mainly on wheelchairs the workshop also refurbishes a small number of bikes.  Experienced instructor Dave Kellet has been overseeeing the workshop at HMP Garth since the start.

On average there are 12 trainees in the workshop at any one time although it is hard to determine how many pass through in a year, there is no time limit and some trainees stay for months while others stay for only a few weeks.

Although the workshop used to deliver NVQ qualifications to the trainees because of the transient population they are now delivering an 'AIM' award because of the shorter timescale it takes to complete.

All the wheelchairs refurbished in the workshop are supplied by MCF, collected from our friends at Physionet or from Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, an NHS hospital in West Yorkshire. Read the full case study here

The biggest challenge facing Dave in the workshop is the variety of wheelchairs and parts. "Sometimes it can be a bit challenging to try to produce a working wheelchair with limited parts and equipment as I am conscious that I don't want to place too much of a burden on the charity by spending too much money on replacement parts."

Workshop instructor, Dave Kellett, was awarded a Butler Trust Award in 2002 for the project which involved him following the refurbished wheelchairs to India and helping to distribute them to the various organisations based there.

The Margaret Carey Foundation has an agreement with a nearby NHS hospital to collect their redundant wheelchairs. This has been a success which we hope to replicate with other hospitals and Local Authority equipment stores, as and when the opportunity arises. 

More information about HMP Garth can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.