“It’s quite daunting to start with. They have chains with great rings of keys. You open a door and close it behind you again, and then you open another door and close that one behind you again and again, until you reach the workshop”.
Kitty Adam has been a part of the extended Fine Cell Work team for over five years. Initially a volunteer at a prison in the South East, more recently she has turned her hand to supporting the charity with events and sales.
A skilled stitcher with a background in interior design – she ran her own company for 20 years – Kitty has now developed a small range of needlepoint Christmas decorations which are being stitched in prisons across the UK and sold through our online site. When asked about the inspiration behind her designs, Kitty had this to say;
“Fine Cell Work encouraged me to do a bauble. We are given a lot of donated threads so it was nice to be able to involve more colours. With the snowman, I had made one myself which they saw and asked me to develop that.
I come from a family of women who all do needlepoint. My designs are all tent stitch, sometimes with French knot detail. Each decoration takes 10-12 hours to stitch.
They are lightweight and you can easily send them to family or friends as gifts. [Fine Cell Work] are building up a collection of decorations and sold over 700 last year.”
Having volunteered across all aspects of Fine Cell Work – teaching, designing and selling – Kitty has a unique insight into what it is that resonates with stitchers and volunteers alike;
“Prisoners have got so much time, that’s the key. It helps pass the time and you get praised for something that you have created and achieved. It helps prisoners reconnect with life, with ways they can improve and make the most of their time. It makes them philosophical.
It’s a reciprocal feeling that you get. Every one of the volunteers is passionate about what they do. If you start working with people who have never stitched, it is a pleasure to see how much progress they make. [I love] seeing people admire the work and then coming back to buy.”