Carefully hand-embroidered cushions aren’t synonymous with prison. Images of people behind bars tend to centre around exactly that, a lonely prisoner in their cell.
Fine Cell Work, however, are changing that. The social enterprise is enabling offenders to spend their time in prison fostering hope, discipline and self-esteem as they become highly skilled in the art of creative needlework.
Currently working in 32 British prisons and engaging over 500 prisoners each year, Fine Cell Work addresses key issues affecting inmates’ offending behaviours: establishment and reinforcement of work skills, building relationships, and mental resilience by teaching offenders to create beautifully intricate hand-stitched canvas bags, aprons and cushions.
Prisoners are taught by experienced volunteers and staff to work in their cells and in workshops. Having the opportunity to work independently helps them to regain control of their lives and allows them to maintain dignity.
They gain a sense of connection to the world outside prison through the sale of their work, which you can buy through the Big Issue Shop.