Lancashire Adult Learning and HM Kirkham prison have launched a partnership to better support prisoners as they prepare for life after their release.
The partnership between Lancashire Adult Learning and the open prison was launched with a showcase event for prisoners offering tasters of LAL’s broad provision at the prison’s library and education centre.
Health and Wellbeing initiatives were central to the provision on offer, including a full body workout with Chair Based Exercises with Drumming, and promotion of quick and easy microwave cookery recipes for healthy eating.
Information on the NHS Change4Life programme raising awareness of high fats, salt and sugars in popular off the shelf foods was also available, as well as the promotion of leisure activities for mental wellbeing such as arts and crafts, choir singing and horticulture.
The showcase also included LAL’s Employability team who provided prisoners attending the event with expert advice and guidance on getting back into work once their sentence has been served, and the Family Learning team were also in attendance to promote classes – with evidence showing reduced rates of reoffending in former prisoners when they engage in education with their children after leaving prison.
Nicola Hall, Head of Curriculum and Strategic Partnerships at Lancashire Adult Learning, said: “I’m delighted to launch our partnership with HM Kirkham prison and I believe there is real scope for this relationship to be successful and flourish.
“The launch night was an inspiring occasion, and it was fantastic to see the men at Kirkham positively engaging with the LAL team and our offer.”
Governor at HM Kirkham prison Derek Harrison said: “The learning event held was a real opportunity for men at Kirkham to identify and develop their own learning interests and tie them to accessible learning opportunities which can help to reduce reoffending.
“It was an evening taster session that was really well attended and saw a lot of engagement from prisoners as well as being supported by multiple community services. I look forward to seeing how this develops into the future.”
One of the prisoners who attended the showcase was Wayne. He said: “I’ve found the taster event very good and it is run by brilliant people.
“I had fun with the Chair Based Exercises. It’s something I wouldn’t have considered doing normally, and as well as the exercise, it works your brain too with coordination.
“I found the Employability advice and guidance very good as well, especially about how to manage disclosure when applying for jobs when I am released.”
Another prisoner Mark found the taster showcase very good. He said: “I really think there should be more events like this. I’ve been planning for my release for the past five months and this showcase has been a real eye opener for me in terms of the opportunities I have and the range courses I can do.
“I have had quite a varied career in terms of my employment history and the skills and experience that I have, so it was very useful talking to the Employability team.
“The microwave cookery was also interesting, and I’m very surprised at the number of recipes and the variety of food that you can cook using a microwave.”
Lancashire Adult Learning’s guide for Spring is out now and is full of inspiration for the new year, with courses to help adults across the Red Rose County develop a new hobby, learn a new skill, improve their wellbeing, enhance their social life, gain employment or change career.
As well as its targeted delivery and partnership work, Lancashire Adult Learning offers a huge range of planned provision across Lancashire, from Arts and Crafts to Humanities classes, Languages to Health and Wellbeing sessions and Functional Skills English and Maths and Employability courses.
In February 2018, Lancashire Adult Learning was named as the inaugural winner of the national Adult and Community Learning Provider of the Year at the TES FE Awards.
Further information about Lancashire Adult Learning can be found at www.lal.ac.uk or by calling 0333 003 1717.