Transforming lives, one stitch at a time

The impact of our work

Over the last 26 years, we’ve shared the healing power of needlework and proven that it is possible to transform the lives of people in prison, one stitch at a time.

We are the only UK-based charity providing social enterprise and earned income for prisoners on such a wide scale, as well as providing prisoners with paid professional work that they can carry out from within their prison cells.

Our unique process results in a unique impact. The best way to truly understand this impact is to hear it from our stitchers, in their own words...


Meet Frank


When Frank joined our Open the Gate programme in May 2021, he was feeling overwhelmed and burdened by life. Struggling with his mental health and withdrawn from friends and family, Frank honestly just wanted to be back in prison.


But Frank hadn’t always felt this way. Before prison, he had been an experienced and skilled labourer in the construction industry. He had had a purpose, a home and a community. Frank knew his true potential but he needed someone else to believe in and support him.


Through slowly building trust with the Fine Cell Work team, Frank committed himself to the programme. He embraced and excelled at every opportunity to learn and grow, in both skill and confidence. Until finally, Frank was ready and equipped to rebuild a meaningful, independent, crime-free life.


After graduating from Open the Gate, Frank went on to secure work as an onsite labourer working at an office site. Within two months he was promoted to temporary supervisor and he now hopes to complete a Supervisor NVQ course.

After you’ve been in prison you have a fear of judgement – I am used to being judged. I’ve experienced a lot of it. Every day I was with Fine Cell Work I felt better. Not sitting at home thinking bad things. Instead thinking, ‘I achieved something today!'

Frank, Open The Gate Apprentice