9 January 2015

Stevenson Welcomes Over £890K for Peterhead Prison Project

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed a £896,326 funding boost for a ground breaking project based in HMP and YOI Grampian in Peterhead today (Friday).

The funding from the Big Lottery Fund has been given to Station House Media Unit (shmu) based in Aberdeen to develop a Creative Media Unit within the Peterhead prison over the next five years, offering prisoners the chance to participate in a radio station, a magazine production suite, a music production programme, and train in filmmaking.

The project will work with all sections of the prison population including male and female prisoners and young offenders aged 16-30, with the primary aim of reducing offending rates when they are released back into the community.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I am absolutely delighted that this project has been given this substantial grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities: Life Transitions branch.

“This project is innovative and has been very well constructed for the benefit of the prisoners and young offenders at HMP and YOI Grampian, and the communities they will re-enter when they complete their sentence.

“As well as actively engaging with prisoners and increasing their life skills within the Creative Media Unit, the project also includes a support package in preparation for and during their reintegration back into the community, which is absolutely key to the success of this venture, and for the positive outcomes of those concerned whether it be into jobs, education, further training or volunteering.”

Shmu Chief Executive Murray Dawson added:

“This is fantastic news and will enable us to refine the work we have already undertaken in the prison and develop it further over a reasonable time period. We have a proven track record of using a range of media platforms in a number of communities to produce life changing results.

“This project will give us the scope to develop our expertise further in a prison environment and we are extremely confident that the project will have a significant impact and will transform the lives of those who take part.”

The project has been developed as a result of extensive research and full consultation with a range of agencies, together with input from serving prisoners.

George Peden, Head of Offender Outcomes at HMP and YOI Grampian said:

"HMP and YOI Grampian are delighted that funding has been secured for this innovative work with an established community partner who have extensive expertise in this field. The project will give prisoners the opportunity to practise and learn new skills, increase their confidence and self-esteem with meaningful learning, training and vocational opportunities that enhance their opportunities on return to the community.”

The shmu grant is one of 11 projects sharing in £5,717,872 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities programme announced today (Friday).

It follows on from current and previous projects led by shmu in the criminal justice sector, including ADJUST (Aberdeen Delivering Joined Up Service Transitions) an Aberdeen City based multi-agency approach to reducing re-offending, funded by the Robertson Trust.

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