LandWorks is a ground-breaking training project that supports those in prison or at risk of going to prison (‘trainees’) away from crime and back into their community through intensive, long-term placements.
- 46% of prisoners re-offend within one year of release.
- The comparable reoffending rate for LandWorks trainees is 4%
- Just 27% have a job when they leave prison
- 91% of former trainees at LandWorks are now in employment
- Between 2013 and the end of 2019, LandWorks had supported over 100 people
- Reoffending costs the economy an estimated £13 billion each year
- 47% of prisoners have no qualifications on release
- 82% have the writing skills of below an 11-year-old child
- Over 70% suffer from more than two mental disorders
BBC Countryfile on the LandWorks project
Established in 2013, and operating as an independent charity since 2016, LandWorks has an exemplary track record of reducing reoffending and empowering some of the most marginalised in our society to live more fulfilling and independent lives.
The project started with one member of staff, four prisoners, and a seed of an idea. Now with a strong infrastructure and staff team in place (including two former beneficiaries employed full-time here after their placement), we have transformed a derelict quarry into the 2-acre LandWorks training centre, almost entirely built by our trainees.
Working directly with our local prison, police and probation services, LandWorks provides life-changing placements (average 6 months but flexible) that are individually-tailored to tackle the root causes of offending. Replicating a working day structure, trainees develop practical skills in woodworking, vegetable growing, landscaping, construction, cooking and arts & crafts. Recognising the complex and entrenched needs of many offenders (Social Exclusion Unit, 2002), we have strong links with relevant agencies, as well as a dedicated Resettlement Officer to provide 1-2-1 practical support across employment, housing, benefits, addiction, health, mental health and family.
Underpinning everything, though, is building trainees’ self-worth, confidence and responsibility so that they can lead independent lives after their placement. Primarily we do this by building trusting relationships, and offering the chance to develop a non-criminal identity, as well as providing weekly counselling sessions on-site and longer-term, mentoring support. We involve the community at every opportunity, with volunteers working 1-2-1 with trainees to prepare the daily communal lunch, using seasonal produce grown on-site. Guests also join the lunch – from district judges to police officers to students, breaking down the barriers that often prohibit successful integration.