Safe Ground - Using drama to educate prisoners and young people at risk in the community

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History

Safe Ground was founded in 1993 by Antonia Rubinstein and Polly Freeman. We became a charity in 1995.  Both Antonia and Polly had significant skills in education, training, drama and family dynamics.

The early days

Initially, Safe Ground’s work was rooted in theatre. Our first venture was a production of ‘The Tempest’ at HMYOI Huntercombe, followed by ‘The Doors’, an original play inspired by ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, and developed by prisoners at HMYOI Feltham.

Antonia and Polly continued to create innovative arts based community programmes, including ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ and ‘The Flock’. It was while working with adult men in HMP Wandsworth that we got our name, after men in the workshops described them as ‘a safe place to be’.

Our programme development

In the late 1990s, the Home Office invited Safe Ground to design a family relationships programme for use across the English and Welsh male prison estate.

This investment lasted over 10 years, and resulted in the internationally known Family Man (FM) and Fathers Inside (FI) programmes.

Alongside the development of FM and FI, we have continued our commitment to community arts based programmes, delivering the Creating Community Archives project (2009-10), Common Ground (2010-11) and Transitions (2011).

Our community presence also saw the GROUNDation series of events bringing poetry written by men in HMP Wandsworth to the local community, through regular performances.

Since 2010 we’ve also been able to develop our programmes in response to and alongside our graduates, and also stakeholders in the varied sectors in which we work.

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