Chris Pease, Peace Partners' Treasurer, reflects on the charity’s support for the initiative:
“Carolyn initially approached us a year ago for help with workbooks and reading articles, and we donated £250. She approached us again recently, and this time we granted the full request of £500 in view of the success of the project, and the need for a lot more materials. Her email below tells the full encouraging story!”
I just want to say that the funding we got from Peace Partners last year has been really appreciated, and we were able to buy lots of workbooks for prisoners.
We have now increased our presence in HMP Leeds, and are running four PEPs a week in different wings. Billa Nanra, an ex-offender from HMP Leeds, is coming in with us to facilitate. Many of the officers remember him. It is creating a lot of good will in the prison and also the prisoners really look up to him, he inspires them. His documentary 'Slaying the Dragon' is shown on the prison information channel which all the prisoners have access to in their cells ,which is great as it promotes the PEP:
We are now delivering PEP to around 50 to 60 prisoners each week over the four wings.
To save on workbooks we have been photocopying single sheets each week, but many of the attendees like to have a workbook and write a lot in them, so if we can we try to give them one to keep. We also read the article at the end of each session. They read out a paragraph each. It's a great way to finish the session, and they all clap themselves at the end!
I am requesting if it would be possible to have some more funding so we can stock up again on workbooks and reading articles? We fund quite a lot of expenses ourselves - pens, paper, printing, biscuits for the break etc. plus other incidental expenses, but to buy workbooks and articles in bulk takes a lot of funding that we don't have.
Every 10 sessions we ask the participants to complete feedback forms, and below are a few of the responses from the ones we did in February.
In answer to the question - What did you most like about the Peace Education Programme?
It opened up my mind and now I can be at peace with myself
I just think it is a really good programme and recommend it to all the inmates.
I like the way it makes you see things in a different way .
It is a place where I find peace in Jail.
Interesting and relaxing . It makes you feel you can do something with your life.
Love it ! I am a better person for doing it.
It is also very heart-warming to hear what they say when we chat to them. Here are a couple of examples:
This is the highlight of my week
It is the best course in the prison.
It is very exciting what is happening here, and we are possibly going to expand further or into another local prison where some of the men from Leeds get transferred to. It is not without its challenges, but I really enjoy it and get a lot from it myself, as do the other volunteers.
Thanks and Best Wishes,
HMP Leeds PEP contact