Many congratulations to all winners in this years Koestler Arts awards
Five things to know about Probation Reform from Clinks
Six Book Challenge with the Reading Agency
Six Book Challenge with the Reading Agency in HMP Grendon & AYOI. BACO supports this initiative by providing prizes for those completing the challenge of reading six books and keeping a diary of what they have read. A prize giving is organised by the Prison Librarian and BACO prizes of dictionaries and reference books are provided. The prize giving for HMP Grendon residents took place on May 24th 2019.
BACO mascots Mabel and Mavis (miniature Mediterranean donkeys) loved meeting the prisoners families at HMP Springhill last Christmas to watch the men’s original pantomime, Jack A lad in the Beanstalk. There were great performances from an 11 strong cast and some unexpected new characters included a hilarious Bickering Beanstalk. The show was facilitated by Kestrel Theatre Company in collaboration with The Irene Taylor Trust who worked with a group of men to produce the spectacular original songs and music for the show. There were five performances to over 300 staff, residents and families visiting HMP Springhill. The family shows were particularly poignant and many remarked watching the show together made them feel ‘normal’ and they ‘forgot they were in prison’.
What I take away is the knowledge that we can do things differently – that we can drop our guard and be normal and human. I have been in jail a long time and it’s been a treat to see softness and emotion come through and the joy in people’s hearts in taking part.
I’ve done something I never thought possible – bought something to life that we wrote ourselves for our families. In the place of despair that is prison, this project has been a beam of sunshine in all our lives.
I bought my wife and kids to see the show. For the first time ever during visits, we were able to forget we were in a prison, and enjoy the normality of having fun together as a family.
The panto personified everything that a rehab culture should. The interaction with the men and staff took us momentarily away from the norm – you could really see the joy on the men’s faces at the end.
Mike Vail – Senior Officer HMP Grendon and Springhill
I have been incarcerated for 13 years now and I have never been on a project where I have laughed so much. I enjoyed seeing people come together from different backgrounds, working with the same enthusiasm to create something brilliant. I was encouraged to push myself to a point where I felt I really excelled. It allowed me to develop and identify skills I didn’t know I had, it has opened up a new world in terms of what I would like to do with my life.