IMG 2770 e1700840856999 1024x571 - Prisoner Training & Placements

July 2023 –

Acceptance, a new book by LandWorks published to mark the charity’s 10th anniversary, is shining a much-needed light on the difficult and complex lives of offenders, the challenges of rehabilitation, and their potential for change.

The book combines a powerful and thought-provoking narrative on the day-to-day goings-on at LandWorks, compiled from project director Chris Parson’s regular blogs, with personal stories from offenders on placement there, told (anonymously) in their own words. Since it was founded in 2013, LandWorks has helped over 200 people in prison, or at risk of going to prison, to find a route back into the community and employment through a combination of vocational skills training, practical living support, and counselling.

Based on the Dartington Estate in Devon, the independent charity provides a safe place for trainees to build trusting and non-judgemental relationships, improve their wellbeing and mental health, stabilise their lives, and develop a non-criminal identity. 94% of former trainees seeking employment are in work and fewer than 6% go on to reoffend within a year.

Endorsing the new book, Professor Nick Hardwick, Former Chair of the Parole board and HM Chief Inspector of HM Prisons said: “LandWorks is the best project of its kind anywhere in the UK. This book of blogs by the indefatigable Chris Parsons, with insights from participants in the LandWorks’ PeN project, is a moving, very personal account of what it is about. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, it is above all an inspiring reminder that we should never give up on anybody and that, with support and space, we can all find our better selves.”

Dr Sarah Wollaston, LandWorks Trustee and Former Chair of the Commons Select Committee on Health and Social Care (2014 to 2019) described Acceptance as: “An absolutely compelling account, told through personal blogs and stories, of all that is wrong with our criminal justice system and how a remarkable charity called LandWorks has created an holistic alternative that brings hope for the future. Heart-breaking and uplifting in equal measure, and a vision for what could be achieved.”

Chris Parsons has been informing and inspiring LandWorks’ growing community of supporters with his fortnightly blogs since the earliest days of the project. In 2016, volunteer Dr Julie Parsons launched the PeN (Photographic electronic Narrative) project, to encourage trainees to give voice to their own experiences. Delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth, the project allows trainees to tell their own stories. They document how they spend their time at the project, how they became involved in the criminal justice system, and their hopes for the future.

“The idea to fuse the two narratives in a book recording and celebrating 10 years of LandWorks seemed a very natural thing to do,” said Parsons. “We called the book Acceptance because that is what LandWorks is all about. Accepting others, and being accepted for who you are, and not for what you did previously. Accepting what has happened in life, and the opportunity to become a better version of yourself. We hope that by sharing our experiences we can help to change public perceptions of ex-offenders and ease their reintegration back into the community.”

Acceptance was officially launched on 14 July 2023 at LandWorks annual supporter’s day. It is available for sale online at LandWorks.org.uk, and at the LandWorks’ shop in Dartington, priced £10, with all proceeds going to fund the project.

Buy Acceptance