Vendor Spotlight: Fine Cell Work
Fine Cell Work is a rehabilitation charity that works in 32 prisons across Britain. They enable prisoners to build fulfilling and crime-free lives by training them to do high-quality, skilled needlework to foster hope and discipline. Their aim is to allow them to finish their sentences with work skills, financial support, and the self-belief to not re-offend.
The idea for Fine Cell Work was originally conceived by Lady Anne Tree in the 1960’s when she was a prison visitor to HMP Holloway. She became aware of how much of prisoners’ time was completely wasted and that they might do a skilled job in their cell, get paid for it and have the money presented to them on release. Her idea that if the work was top quality there would be a market for it. She thought embroidery would be a useful skill as it was easily transported in a kit bag when the workers moved prison. Now engaging with over 500 prisoners each year, Fine Cell Work addresses key issues affecting prisoners’ offending behaviours: establishment and reinforcement of work skills, building relationships, and mental resilience.
Prisoners are taught by experienced volunteers and staff to work in their cells and in prison workshops. Having the opportunity to work independently helps them to regain control of their lives and allows them to maintain dignity. Prisoners gain a sense of connection to the world outside prison through the sale of their work. It also helps establish a work ethic and allows them to send money to their families or save for their release.
Fine Cell Work also guides them towards training and support on release. At the ‘Fine Works Hub’, a London-based workshop, they provide work experience, formal training, and employment. At the Clothworkers Studio, apprentices are able to complete textile qualifications; work with an employment mentor; gain employment support; and take up opportunities in product manufacture and design, as well as sales and stock management.
Proceeds will go to expanding into more prisons across the UK and rehabilitating prisoners, hopefully breaking the cycle of re-offending.