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



Fathers Inside Presentation at HMP Parc

05 Oct 2017 by Keisha Bhamra

A Piece by Placement Student Paige: I recently attended my first presentation of Fathers Inside since joining Safe Ground, at HMP Parc. Fathers Inside focuses on parental responsibilities, children’s education, development and wellbeing with men in prison, through an intensive group-work programme which uses drama and arts. At the end of the programme the participants […] … more »

Home is Movement

29 Sep 2016 by Isobel Ward

After attending Safe Ground’s MOVING. HOME. Symposium (Thursday 8th September 2016) I was left, as I imagine many others were, with my mind spinning full of thoughts and questions about the nature of this concept we call ‘home’. I was blown away by the breadth and depth of what was discussed, and by the thought […] … more »


26 Sep 2016 by Obinna Nwosu

Taking up temporary residency at the National Theatre (Dorfman Theatre), Southbank again this year, somewhat ironically it hosted our discussions around MOVING. HOME. The symposium was the last in a trilogy of events spread throughout 2016 that celebrate Safe Ground’s 21st birthday. We used this important milestone in our unfolding history to take a moment […] … more »

Walking Human

26 Sep 2016 by Obinna Nwosu

On 22nd September I was lucky enough to attend the most recent Koestler Trust exhibition, ‘We Are All Human’. This year I was part of a walking tour around the exhibition, looking at the artwork in more depth, gaining insight into each piece. The tour was hosted by Koestler’s very own Hosts, who enthusiastically gave us a […] … more »

Safe Ground’s 21st Birthday Party!

28 Jul 2016 by Keisha Bhamra

On 19th July, sector colleagues, friends and family of Safe Ground travelled from up and down the country to join us for our official 21st birthday celebrations! With over 50 people turning up throughout the day, our Battersea office was filled with positivity and a lot of (professional) love. The day was kick started by […] … more »

Leading Learning the Irving Way

21 Jul 2016 by Keisha Bhamra

This month Programmes Manager, Rachel Irving, attended the Prisoners’ Education Trust annual lecture on ‘Leading Learning’. To find out about her thoughts and experience please read below. When the opportunity came to hear what Dame Sally Coates had to say about her most recent education review, I couldn’t resist. I wanted to understand how, in practical terms, it was going to work. […] … more »

Family Ties at Parc

16 Jun 2016 in

The most recent unannounced HM Inspection of HMP/YOI Parc has been published. Despite the wider issues around safety and violence that afflict Parc, outcomes for prisoners in terms of both purposeful activity and resettlement were found to be good. Inspectors found the prison had placed offender management ‘at the heart of its work to reduce reoffending’ and there were examples of good practice such as the family interventions unit. Safe Ground’s Family Man and Fathers Inside programmes have been integral to the Invisible Walls project and a key component on the Family Intervention Unit (FIU) alongside a wide range of additional activities including; Barnardos, local Scouts and childrens’ service providers, parents’ support and family learning opportunities, homework clubs and cookery classes. Safe Ground is proud to be involved in a pioneering development and to have the confidence of the FIU senior leadership in our methodologies to contribute to this important work. Below are the highlights from the HM Inspection report, to read the report in full please click here.

Children, families and contact with the outside world

The prison worked with families to ensure they were involved in the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners. The approach was radical and innovative and probably the best we have seen in any prison. The prison had recently been awarded the ‘Investors in Families’ accredited chartermark – the only prison in the European Union to have received the award. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

T4 wing remained the family interventions unit, holding up to 60 prisoners, where prisoners could access a range of programmes and activities to support and develop their family relationships; partners and children were also encouraged to be part of this approach. Any prisoner could apply for a place on the unit, with priority to those felt most likely to benefit. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

T4 also incorporated the ‘Invisible walls’ project, a four-year initiative offering targeted help and support for 20 prisoners at a time in the last 12 months of their sentence and the first six months following release. The project focused on some of the most chaotic and problematic families, and was designed to break the cycle of intergenerational offending. Initial indications were that the work was having a substantial impact on reconviction rates. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

A prison analysis suggested that 69% of prisoners at Parc received regular visits compared with an average of 48% across the rest of England and Wales. The prison encouraged prisoner involvement in the lives of their children, and many parent/teacher meetings had been arranged at the prison. (pg. 57 HMI report Dec 15-Jan 16)

Keep your eyes peeled for a Safe Ground interview with Trustee and Head of Family Interventions Programmes, Corin Morgan-Armstrong, in a few weeks!

Full article »

What Makes a Good Facilitator

14 Jun 2016 by Keisha Bhamra

Find out about Programme Manager, Alison Sidaway’s, recent experience of facilitating Man Up training in Yorkshire and the key qualities of becoming a great facilitator!  What makes a good facilitator? It is a question we ask at our Safe Ground trainings. There is an urban myth amongst delegates that unlike teachers, facilitators turn up, facilitate and go home. I […] … more »

Bite Size Poets

19 May 2016 by Keisha Bhamra

As part of Safe Ground’s 21st Birthday celebrations, poetry workshops were held at Battersea Library, Winkworth Estate Agents and Pump House Gallery. Click on the images below to read the poems created from sessions with Joelle Taylor and Sara Hirsch. … more »

Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison

19 May 2016 in

Dame Sally Coates review, Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison, is the first time for a long time that education in prison has been systematically analysed with a view to radical change.

The publication of the review, on the same day as the Queen’s speech which heralds a new system of prison governance and outcome measurement, is symbolic of Government emphasis on improving what and how prison can deliver to wider society as well as to the people it directly affects.

The Coates review cannot respond to all the changes people in prison, their families and staff might want to see; but it does deliver a range of recommendations and suggestions for doing things differently, some of which, at least in the short term, Safe Ground agrees are eminently sensible.

The review recognises, for the first time and in concrete terms, the essential value of both arts education and of relationships programmes and support. For Safe Ground and many of our colleagues, this will be welcome recognition of the engagement, progression and contributions to overall achievement individual learners, families and institutions can make.

Safe Ground is responsible for a wide range of relationships programmes in prison and the community and the Coates review gives good indication that each one will be technically supported and encouraged (at Governors’ discretion) in prisons nationally.  Family Man and Fathers Inside both involve graduates from the programmes as mentors on further programmes; something the Coates review is keen to develop.

Our work with Novus to train and develop the facilitation skills and confidence of teachers in prison is another significant aspect of the review we feel confident will add enormous value to the improvements Dame Sally hopes to achieve.

Our programme of support to Prison Officers will enable teams of mixed grade Officers and managers to consider how they can further embed, encourage and support education as part of the Whole Prison approach and we are optimistic about the impact of this approach.  Safe Ground’s newer programmes, Man Up and Our Own Stories both fit the Personal and Social Development curriculum and we are pleased to see the Coates review has taken into account the varying and widely ranging educational experiences and needs of learners in prison. The emphasis on recognizing learning difficulty and disability and of simultaneously aiming to enable higher level and continuous education is something Safe Ground programmes intend to support.

Safe Ground is committed to developing social capital and improving the well-being of people in prison and local communities through the arts and education and we very much hope the implementation of the recommendations in the Coates review will support and enable the Governors and staff who so often express their desires to deliver high quality services and programmes, to do so.

To read the review in full please click here.

Full article »

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