Prof Ruth Farwell, BACO’s Prisoner Support Volunteer and Educational and Training Lead responded to a request from staff at HMP Grendon to help during the Covid-19 Lock down. In collaboration with James at Ikon Gallery BACO donated £216 to benefit all residents on all the wings
“I would like to thank you both again for the purchase of the sketchbooks and canvases for all wings at Grendon, they have all now been collected and have been very gratefully received by all. I have heard that the majority of the canvases are being worked on towards some collective community based art which is great, and that the sketchbooks are being used as creative journals, amongst other things.”
HMP Grendon Creative Psychotherapist
The residents at HMP Grendon generously make donations to charity. In February 2020 the community on F Wing nominated BACO as a charity to receive sponsorship and on their initiative have raised funds from the residents on other wings. The donations mean so much particularly as the residents often have very little money in their accounts but nevertheless want to acknowledge their appreciation of BACO and help BACO support others.
In September 2020 we received this letter from a resident who requested it should be read by people who give money to Baco.
“I am writing to give some feedback to BACO and potential donors how the generous funding and support has helped me over the past few years.
Whilst undergoing intensive cognitive behavioural therapy at Grendon Prison, the BACO grants have encouraged me to to fulfill a life long passion to play the guitar. We are encouraged at Grendon to follow individual pursuits and I personally have used the books and guitar to teach myself how to read classical solo guitar, as a 59 year old man it has proved difficult. The intensity of the group therapy is so mentally demanding, which is why I needed to distract myself from the childhood trauma and abuse and abuse I suffered throughout my formative years.
The clothing grants that I have gratefully received have enabled me to dress in a dignified manner and to be honest its undignified to wear prison clothing. (track suits)
I am now at HMP Springhill , I will need your support to help me gain vocational skills so that I can lead a productive industrious life, in return, as a man with a 45 year criminal history I will be able to return to the community, a responsible, law abiding citizen. You have all helped me tremendously. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all.”
Cell Workout at HMP Woodhill
On Monday 24th February 2020 LJ Flanders and colleagues James & Joe held a Cell Work Out ‘taster session’ in the gym at HMP Woodhill. Twenty plus men attended to experience the workout routines devised by LJ during his sentence at HMP Pentonville. At times being confined to his cell for 23 hours a day, LJ recognised the importance of keeping fit in both body and mind, determined not to waste his time whilst ‘doing time’ he enrolled on a personal training course in Pentonville. This not only gave him the fundamental understanding of how to construct the varied workout routines, it also offered a higher chance of employment following his release. Once qualified LJ got a job in the prison gym and was often being asked if he could write personalised fitness regimes that could be performed in a cell.
Upon release LJ wrote Cell WorkOut and now regularly visits prisons to encourage men to get fit and to talk about about how he has turned his life around.
BACO is delighted to have been able to sponsor LJ Flanders’ taster session in both HMYOI, Aylesbury and in HMP Woodhill.
30th March 2020 LJ Flanders launched crowd funding initiative click here to find out more
The Koestler Awards for arts in criminal justice started in 1962. Each year over 3,500 people in custody and in the community share their creative work by taking part. The Koestler Awards provide feedback and encouragement to entrants of all abilities in visual art, design, writing and music.
The 2020 winners will be announced on 30th October 2020.
Six Book Challenge with the Reading Agency
Six Book Challenge with the Reading Agency in HMP Grendon . 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.
On December 11th 2019 BACO trustees and members enjoyed listening to conversations between Louise Candlish and residents before presenting prizes to all those who had completed the Six Book Challenge. We are very grateful to the Head Librarian Debra Lovell and Coles Books of Bicester for providing the prizes.
Further presentations of prizes took place week commencing March 2nd 2020 when Debra invited BACO members to Grendon.
BACO mascots Mabel and Mavis (miniature Mediterranean donkeys) loved meeting the prisoners families at HMP Springhill in December 2019 before two performances of the men’s original pantomime.