Fine Cell Work – April 2017

170404_FineCellWork-16What a fantastic meeting we had in April 2017! We were joined by Jenni Parker, the Volunteer and Programmes Manager for Fine Cell Work, a charity which trains prisoners in across the UK in needlework.
Fine Cell Work was founded in 1997, but it had its genesis in the 1960s when, as a visitor to HMP Holloway women’s prison in the 1960s, Lady Anne Tree worked with two long-term prisoners on intricate needlepoint projects.
Convinced of the therapeutic value of sewing, Lady Anne felt that the women who had put so much hard work into the pieces should be able to earn money from their work, and she became determined to establish an organisation in which prisoners could learn a skill to the highest level and be paid for their efforts. After decades of 170404_FineCellWork-5lobbying the Home Office to change the law so that prisoners could earn money from their work she achieved her goal. Today, Fine Cell Work has 60 volunteers training over 400 prisoners in 29 prisons across England, Scotland and Wales and prison systems in other countries have expressed interest in starting similar schemes.
Jenni shared some personal and moving stories of the prisoners involved in the programme, reminding us of the genuinely transformative power of the mindful act of needlework. The examples of the work she brought along were beautiful – a few lucky members made some special purchases.
You can read more about Fine Cell Work here.