We are pleased to welcome Carol Part to the Friends of Erlestoke Prison team. Carol has recently joined us in the role of Transport Scheme and Volunteer Co-ordinator. Carol will manage enquiries and bookings, co-ordinate our existing volunteer drivers and recruit/train new drivers to support the scheme.
Thank you to everyone who joined us at the recent drama performance given by offenders, led by the inspirational Rebecca Cochran-Patrick. There were 45 paying guests who watched the performance followed by tea and cakes in the Visits Hall. A total of (nearly!) £440 was raised from the profits of the event. Both Rebecca and the Friends are keen to repeat and expand this initiative. Watch out for future performances!
Peter Woolf spoke to two groups of Erlestoke prisoners about his experiences of crime, drugs, alcohol and 18 years in prison and other institutions. He then explained how, when he met two of his victims face to face through the process of Restorative Justice, he turned his life around. He is now happily married, living a drug, alcohol and crime free life. It is hoped that he will inspire Erlestoke prisoners to rethink their own lives and behaviour.
Robert Hiscox, Patron of the Friends, unveiled 'a Journey to Hope', a large mosaic created by victims of crime and prisoners from HMP Erlestoke who worked together with the mosaic artist, Maylee Christie. The mosaic hangs in a prominent position in the prison grounds for prisoners, staff and visitors to view. The project was a collaboration between the Friends, Victim Support Devizes and HMP Erlestoke. It was jointly funded by the Friends and the Wiltshire Council Devizes Area Board. For photos of the unveiling, please go to the Photogallery.
Midge Ure opened a newly created 'sensory garden' part funded by the Friends and built by prisoners. The garden provides a welcome quiet place for any-one in the prison who needs a tranquil setting to collect their thoughts during difficult times. Midge Ure made an inspirational speech about the challenges of recovering from addictions, identfying with the challenges of offenders and staff.