Open the Gate - our post-prison programme

Open the Gate - our post-prison programme

Fine Cell Work's Open the Gate Programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, supports prisoners with reintegration into society upon their release from prison.


The programme offers a range of support to prison leavers, who we refer to as Apprentices, including:

  • Volunteering opportunities in the Fine Works Hub to give apprentices structure, routine and purpose to their days in a beautiful professional workshop. This also provides an up-to-date reference to put on their CV. Roles available include admin, stock management, packing and dispatch, events, sales and textile production – both administrative and vocational.
  • A chance to complete Fine Cell Work training programmes (accredited by the Open College Network) including Machine-stitched and hand-finished products for the home interior which develops our Apprentices' skills in textiles.

  • An employment mentor to support Apprentices back into paid work. Our mentors are from a variety of professional backgrounds and have a wealth of experience. Mentoring sessions are held on a regular basis and focus on career advice, further learning opportunities and developing professional networks.

  • On occasion there may be short-term Fine Cell Work contracts advertised. This is dictated by business need.

In addition to the above, we have dedicated staff on-site who support Apprentices with any emotional or practical issues that they may face during their time with Fine Cell Work.

Apprentices do not have to have stitched with Fine Cell Work in prison to join the team, however the criteria for potential Fine Cell Work apprentices is as follows:

  • Have spent time in custody.
  • Be released into the London area (or within a reasonably commutable distance from Battersea). If you are outside of this area, you are welcome to still apply as all prospective Apprentices are assessed on a case by case basis.
  • Not have any licence conditions that would prevent them from spending time at the Fine Cell Work Hub in Battersea, South London.
  • Are able and willing to travel to the Fine Cell Work Hub.
  • Be in stable accommodation/not be street-homeless.
  • Can be respectful to staff, volunteers and other apprentices and have a commitment to their own personal development.

To find out more please contact our Engagement & Support Officer, Mary, on

If you are a prison leaver who would like to join our team simply download and complete this self-referral form and return it to

With thanks to funding by the National Lottery Community Fund

1 comment

  • Ann Fitzpatrick on

    I believe very strongly in your inspirational work. The skills of your personnel are excellent and ,with expertise and appropriate nurturing, each individual could achieve great things personally and for the wider society.

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