31/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 21:55

Shrewsbury prison art course gives inmates job hopes

Category: England

Published: 21st Oct 2011 18:07:43

Prisoners in a Shropshire jail are hoping an art project will give them the skills and confidence to find work when they are released.

Fresh Start New Beginning is a charity set up by the Shrewsbury and Telford Community Chaplaincy which has been running at Shrewsbury prison for the past six years.

Governor Gerry Hendry is one of the trustees. He said they were trying to do something different from the "carrot and stick" approach used in the past.

"You can't legislate to change the way that people think," he said.

"They have to want to change. They have to want to do something different and it was really finding a vehicle with which we could do this."

The art project has its own workshop where inmates can use their artistic talents.

"We bring these talents out of people and produce some real quality artwork and model work. All of this is then sold through the charity, either at auction or through a charity shop we run over Christmas in Shrewsbury," Mr Hendry said.

One inmate, 36-year-old Sven Dahlberg, from Halifax, has just had an exhibition of his art at the Market Hall in Shrewsbury. He arrived at the prison when the project started and still has three years of his sentence to run.

He worked as an engineer before being jailed, but sees his future in art.

"I think it's definitely something I'm going to explore. I've got another set of pictures I'd like to do a show with. That's something in the future," he said.

Wade Walsh, 36, from Wallasey on Merseyside, has been in and out of prison since he was 15.

"I'm not going to lie about it, I've got a bit of a colourful past. In and out of prison, on the drink, committing crime," he said.

He has found what he hopes will be a career in art through Fresh Start New Beginning.

"I've done a business course in Shrewsbury revolving around my artwork. I got a business plan together and I've had feedback from galleries who want to meet me when I get out," he said.

Mr Hendry is convinced the project helps to prevent reoffending.

He said: "I think the evidence we can produce so far says 'yes, we do have a success rate'. We do have people who, through taking part in the Fresh Start New Beginning initiatives, have gone on to find work."

He said it was better for society to offer help and support to prisoners and make sure they were in a position where they were less likely to reoffend.

"We are not saying this is a panacea - the cure for crime - however statistics show that they are less likely to reoffend with the support of such an initiative as Fresh Start," he said.

A previous auction of 90 individual pieces of offenders' art sold and raised £3,000 for the charity.

The next auction is at the Lord Hill Hotel in Shrewsbury on 1 November.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Shrewsbury prison art course gives inmates job hopes [Online] (Updated 21st Oct 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/195926/Shrewsbury-prison-art-course-gives-inmates-job-hopes [Accessed 31st Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Plans unveiled for more local TV stations in Scotland

    Plans have been unveiled for five more local TV stations in Scotland.
  • Why tax is the trickiest issue of all for politicians

    When politicians talk about tax it makes headlines - even if they are not really saying anything. Let's play a little guessing game....
  • Bristol's The Fleece music venue: nearby flats given the green light

    Plans for new flats close to a music venue in Bristol have been given the go-ahead.
  • Alasdair McDonnell to be investigated over 'serious data breach'

    An investigation has been launched into a "serious data breach" after medical files were found by children at a former health centre owned by SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Ebola crisis: WHO to announce $100m emergency response

    The head of the World Health Organization and leaders of West African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak are to announce a joint $100m (£59m; 75m euro) response plan.