Every day is different in the workshop and it is good to see the work being done goes to good causes.

The bike workshop at HMP Liverpool is one of the workshops that was estabished by the Inside Out Trust which MCF began supporting when the charity was officially established in 2010. Although there was previously a wheelchair project at the prison it now concentrates solely on refurbishing bikes.

The bike training workshop is a thriving project in the prison. With up to 20 trainees in the workshop at any one time and the varying length of time they stay hundreds will pass through the workshop in a year.

The instructor, Andy Kearns, has worked in the prison service for 17 years - 14 of those years have been in the bike workshop, first for the Inside Out Trust, then for Margaret Carey Foundation. During his time Andy has been nominated by the Butler Trust and received a Criminal Justice Award for outstanding work with prisoners.

The workshop isn't currently awarding any formal qualifications to trainees but they are in the process of getting accreditation to be able to award City and Guilds qualifications. The instructors do award the Margaret Carey Foundation certificates (awards from Bronze to Gold according to skill level) which do give the trainees a real sense of achievement.

The workshop's biggest success in terms of rehabilitation is Owen* who started working in the Bike Workshop at HMP Liverpool at the very start of his sentence. Owen was transferred to the resettlement prison HMP Kirkham where he continued his learning in their bike workshop. Since leaving prison Owen* has secured full time employment as a bike mechanic at Halfords. Securing employment is a hugely important factor to ensure that once they leave prison, the trainees can use their new skills and are much less likely to re-offend. Read more about Owen* 

The bike workshop is a shared space, HMP Liverpool also partner with Pioneer People, Aid International and Recycle Recycle.

The workshop has clearly defined objectives: 

  • To provide purposeful activity to prisoners, giving them goals and a sense of achievement.
  • To provide bikes to the highest standard possible.
  • To have the knowledge that all the work done is going to people who need it and are worse off than themselves.
  • Prisoners will pick up basic skills, working with tools etc.

Andy's dedication to the workshop continues, "The Margaret Carey Foundation continues to give excellent support to the project, as they have done in the past. Hopefully we will be expanding the workshop in the near future, so we can employ more Prisoners and improve both the quality and quantity of bikes refurbished".

More details about HMP Liverpool is available on the Ministry of Justice website.

 *Owen - not his real name