"I have been part of the Fine Cell Work group for roughly two years now. Since coming to prison I had struggled with sleep and severe boredom whilst locked in my cell. On the out, I've always done woodwork or metalwork as a hobby. Making quilts for Fine Cell Work gives me that same sense of achievement I used to get, as well as eating up a great deal of time.
I also find that after five hours of concentrating on sewing, I am barely able to stay awake. Though I have had to set a curfew of 11pm on sewing, more than once I have thought "I'll just finish this bit". Then I check my watch and it is 3am!
It also gives me something to lose. I had a bit of a drink problem on the out and have been tempted by offers on the inside on several occasions. The risk of being kicked out of the group is the only real reason I've refused. Well, that and the stern look of disappointment I'd get from Marjorie, my volunteer teacher.
There is very little incentive to stay positive in here, especially when you have a big sentence. I look forward to our fortnightly meetings. It is nice to get your head out of prison stuff for a couple of hours.
They probably don't get told enough, and I can not speak for everyone but the ladies who run our group are fantastic, selfless and incredibly patient. They have genuinely made my last two years a positive experience, and I am eternally grateful."Become a champion of second chances and support our work, so that we can help more people like Mark to lead independent, crime-free lives. You can help us by making a donation, becoming a champion of Fine Cell Work by signing up to a regular donation or by making a purchase from our shop.