Fine Cell Work’s model of paid, skilled, creative work brings purpose and hope for a better future to the lives of convicted prisoners.

These are the ways in which we work:


CELL WORK – hand-stitching classes in prison delivered by volunteer teachers and supported by our staff.

 “I was in a very dark place when I came to prison. Stitching is an escape route and mental health tool that I use when I am low. Without FCW, I do not believe I would have coped in prison.”  - Ahmed

WORKSHOPS – products of embroidery hand stitched in cells are made up and finished in prison workshops delivered by prison staff and supported by our staff.

"I worked in the Fine Cell Work workshop, I never ever believed I could or would learn and enjoy such a thing as sewing. I’ve produced work which I’m so very proud of and will continue to stitch upon release. I have so many skills from there that I will utilise in my own home, making soft furnishings.” - Ian


Fine Cell Work Feedback from Prison Staff



OPEN THE GATE – 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.

This post-release community based support programme offers personalised work experience, employment mentoring and accredited training to ex-prisoners, centred in our textile workshop, the Clothworkers Studio. We also provided additional tailored support in areas including disclosure, money management, resilience and wellbeing.

Since its launch in 2017, we have worked with 67 former prisoners through our Open the Gate programme. 25 have left the programme to take up some form of employment and 11 have completed qualifications across a wide range of areas and levels. To date, the reoffending rate amongst FCW’s post-prison trainees is only 2% compared with a national average of 48%. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall paid an official visit to the workshop to celebrate it’s opening in February 2018


“I want to tell you about three little words that changed my life: Fine Cell Work … Fine Cell Work breaks the barrier when you leave custody, it has been a real stepping stone back into life after prison. I feel part of a community when I’m here. It’s given me purpose again.”  - Karen

 “The Hub is my personal paradise.”  - Maria



Fine Cell Work meets prisoners’ need for purposeful activity, for funds and for support on release, enabling them to earn and save much-needed extra money. We are able to work with men and women for many years, sending them work to do in their cells as they move through different prisons during their sentences. This means the impact we have on their lives, and the level to which they accumulate skill, is unusually deep. The slow, focussed and creative quality of craftwork has been shown to be extremely beneficial to their motivation, well-being and hopefulness. “A Fine Cell Work prisoner is a good prisoner” is a phrase frequently repeated in the prisons where we work.

Impact of Open the Gates post-release

Our post-release programme addresses key issues of offending behaviour and has had considerable success with our current reoffending rate of 2% against a national average of 46% of ex-prisoners reoffending within a year of release.

Evaluation of ex-prisoners who have engaged with Fine Cell Work after release shows increased confidence in finding work, reduced social isolation and drastically reduced reoffending.  More than half of our OTG “graduates” have moved into employment and/or further vocational training, with 45% of these moving into textile-related work or training in upholstery, fashion and soft furnishings.


Fine Cell Work’s vision is to build independent crime-free lives.


Fine Cell Work is a charity that teaches prisoners and ex-prisoners to make beautiful handmade products.

The making and selling of high-quality needlework boosts their self-worth, instils self-discipline, and fosters hope.


To provide paid, purposeful activity
To foster hope
To rebuild lives
To create opportunities
To facilitate reintegration to society


Excellence in everything