Tea and a tent - Prisoner Training & Placements


Quite early on, when investigating how social distancing would work at LandWorks, we unhelpfully discovered that it meant we could not get many people into our largest building, where we used to squeeze in 20 or so for lunch. In fact, we could now only safely manage 7. Also, our existing pottery/art room (old portacabin) could only carefully accommodate 2 people!

So, we had a think.

And did what we do best, made stuff happen. With huge thanks to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, we are currently building a new art/pottery (mobile) building that will hold up to six, safely.

Also, thanks to a separate Clinks/HMPPS grant, we managed to get a large marquee from Denmark, a huge wood burner from Devon, made a hole in the roof, put a chimney in place, chopped a lot of wood, built some new tables, got some lights, wall hangings and a lot of fresh air, which is a key element to success. We can now seat 14 safely in a lovely Bedouin type tent environment. It is great.

All this means that we have stayed open and are now doing perhaps some of our best work to date, certainly the most immediate support work we have ever undertaken. Both with our current community placements (day release prisoners still delayed) and graduates, up to 20 people a week directly benefiting from LandWorks support.

It also means that our volunteers have started cooking lunch again.

A key part of LandWorks is our visitors, folk willing to come for lunch or a cup of tea, it brings a touch of ‘normality’ to often chaotic lives, whose stories simply get overlooked.

In 2013, when LandWorks had only been going for few months, I recall one visitor joined us for lunch; she listened intently to trainees’ life stories and promised to take their concerns to the Minister (a certain Chris Grayling). I do not think any of the group believed that this would happen.

Some weeks later a letter arrived from the Minister. It had happened.

Ever since then our visitor has periodically rung the bell and called in for a cuppa and catch up, no fuss, no drama, just demonstrating true concern for those struggling in life.

Qualities and a commitment that you would look for in a LandWorks trustee.

So, I am delighted to say that Dr Sarah Wollaston has agreed to join our Board of Trustees, and of course taking tea in the Bedouin tent.


29th October 2020