Safe Ground’s 21st Birthday Party!
July 28th, 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 Executive Director, Charlotte Weinberg, who welcomed faces old and new to Safe Ground. This was then followed by a rapturous speech by Safe Ground’s founding member, Antonia Rubinstein, who spoke the origins of the organisation, the struggles that were encountered and above all the desire to help young men in prison who self-harmed.
This was then followed by Safe Ground Trustee and Head of Family Interventions at HMP Parc, Corin Morgan-Armstrong, musing about the importance of family work in prisons and highlighting Safe Ground’s longstanding partnership on the Family Intervention Unit.
The highlights for many visitors were the talks and performances that were offered by our Alumni members, Gus, Richard and Jason. Hearing first-hand accounts of the effects and benefits of Safe Ground’s work proved invaluable and insightful to many but Gus, Richard and Jason did not attend as Safe Ground Alumni. Gus spoken eloquently about his role as a film maker on the Transitions project, Richard had the audience captivated as an actor with his performance play on prison and the care system and Jason had everyone intently listening as a spoken word artist.
The afternoon saw General Manager, Jatinder Kailey, guide visitors around the pop-up art exhibition of art work submitted by Alumni members. The interactive exhibition allowed visitors to match their ‘SG Number’ to an art work and take a piece away with them.
Historian and Museum Curator, Stewart McLaughlin, offered visitors a chance to learn about the history of HMP Wandsworth with stories of Oscar Wilde and Ronnie Biggs imprisonment. Visitors also received an opportunity to handle archived prison objects from Wandsworth Prison Museum ensuring history was brought alive.
Love stories and prisons may not be a connection most people think of but artist, Matt Hopwood, shared his experiences of running his project, A Human Love Story, in HMP Erlestoke. Hopwood spoke of how the men he encountered rarely felt part of a community but through those feelings had built a community of their own and shared love between one another.
The idea of a community within a prison and how that is expanded outside its walls, was explored by Communities and Communication Manager, Obinna Nwosu who revisited the GROUNDation Poetry Project. Poetry performances were given by members from the Katherine Low Settlement who had participated in the project as well as the Open House visitors joining together to perform a group poem.
The day was wrapped up with an interactive session with Safe Ground’s Programme Team demonstrating what the organisation does best, discussion, group work and games! Thank you to all those who celebrated our big day with us!