Koestler Awards

Many congratulations to all winners in this years Koestler Arts awards


Eythrope Walled Garden Event

160 guests enjoyed an evening in the walled garden at Eythrope thanks to the Rothschild Foundation and Head Gardener Susie Hanson and her team. The evening raised over £8,000 which was divided equally between BACO & BACAB (Buckingham Area Citizens Advice Bureau).  Savoury canapes were prepared and served by two gentleman currently released on temporary licence (ROTL)from HMP Springhill and working at Waddesdon Manor.

With the help of charities Unlock & Nacro a new guide to bank accounts for prisoners


Five things to know about Probation Reform from Clinks


Catch Multiplay in Shoreditch 4th July

On Thursday 4th July, Multiplay, the most recent band to come out of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Sounding Out programme,  will be playing at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.  The band will be playing their own original material, a wonderful fusion of rock, jazz and blues, and will be supported by two other bands that have also come out of Sounding Out: Platform 7 and Inside Out.  The event starts at 7.30pm and we very much hope that any BACO member would like to attend.  A number of former HMP Springhill residents will be performing.

The event will be a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase what can be achieved by former prisoners supported by the programme, and challenge assumptions held by some about the limits to what can be achieved by artistic programmes in the field of criminal justice.   The programme builds participants’ self-confidence and aspirations, and provides ‘through the gate’ support  at particularly  vulnerable time, when participants are at most risk of re-offending. 

As one beneficiary put it:

“Being able to look forward to something  … You think differently. I’m not taking all those mad risks I used to take, you get offers to do things and that, and I say no, no I’m in a band…”

There are further details about the event click here


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.


Kestrel Theatre

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.  
Ben (Musician)

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.
Conall (Actor)

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.
Noel (Actor)