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Keys to a better future

Prisoners intent on getting their lives back on track, have been given a boost by a local employer.

From Press releases - 24 August 2016 12:00 AM

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Prisoners intent on getting their lives back on track, have been given a boost by a local employer.

UK Power Networks has long worked with Highpoint Prison in Suffolk. From hosting workshops encouraging local employers to give former offenders a second chance, and mentoring individuals, to giving a mini digger to help prisoners train in road maintenance, the electricity firm has been one of the leading lights locally in helping to reduce reoffending.

Now the company has donated a Ford Transit van from its fleet, because prisoners studying for engineering qualifications need a constant supply of vehicles on which to learn and practice mechanics.
Head of technical training at UK Power Networks, Jason Carmichael said: “We believe it’s important to play an active role in supporting the communities we serve. The rehabilitation of ex-offenders provides benefits to the individual, the community, and us as a company. We’ve worked with Highpoint for more than five years and are always looking for different ways to help - and I’d encourage other companies to do the same. This way they can play a key part in helping people rebuild their lives and make a meaningful contribution to society.”

Deputy governor Stefan Wawryka said: “Since the inception of community engagement work at Highpoint, Jason and his team have stood alongside us in providing advice, guidance, developing our education curriculum (with our training provider Novus) and more importantly giving their time, in driving forward our reduction of reoffending.

“When we opened a new vehicle maintenance workshop in June, UK Power Networks heard about it and quickly returned with the offer of a van, which will be a different type of vehicle for our students to learn about and we are extremely grateful once again for the support.

“We think that UK Power Networks is leading the way in helping public sector prisons provide meaningful opportunities for serving residents, which in turn must contribute to making society a safer place in future.”

Technical training lead Gaye Goddard from the power firm, regularly attends employer events and mentors at the prison, and said: “We offer work experience on release and give advice on CVs and job interview technique, but this programme is not just about employment.

“I have had real insight into the difficult lives of others, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see people, who I think in many cases are victims of circumstance, motivated to improve their situation.
“Working to recue offending like this, also helps society - a year’s prison sentence costs taxpayers about £40,000 a year - and gives hope, which of course you can’t put a price on.”

Suffolk Chamber president and ONE Haverhill Partnership chair Sarah Howard MBE, who officially opened the vehicle maintenance workshop in June, said she was delighted that UK Power Networks had supported such a worthwhile initiative.

Sarah added: “I have seen for myself the vehicle maintenance workshop and the crucial part it will play in improving self-confidence and employment opportunities for people in prison. I have worked closely with Highpoint and know full well how much they value their links with the local community – and this generous donation from UK Power Networks is another example of that.”