Date: Friday 5th August.
Meeting scheduled: 10:30am at Strangeways Prison, Manchester.
Attendees: Myself, The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, The Reform team.
The meeting is to talk about possible ways of implementing art therapy through my teachings to the prisoners.
Strangeways is a local prison opened in 1868, holding prisoners remanded into custody from courts in the Manchester area and Category A prisoners (those held under maximum security conditions).
This was all possible through my friend, the current High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Lorraine Worsley-Carter MBE DL
Just before Lorraine was declared into the position we had spoke on the phone about some of the duties and some of the things in which she will be covering throughout the year. One of them was to be involved in the local prisons to help and support where she can.
Lorraine said she was going to mention my artwork and my story behind how I create it to the governor and suggest if this is something they could implement to help the prisoners.
A few months passed and Lorraine gave me a call to say that she had spoken to the governor, he was very interested and that we should arrange a date to go in and speak with the team.
On the day I was extremely anxious. It had been a long night before in which I had taken medication to help but it hadn’t done much and then I only had two hours sleep. I had to take medication before i left to help control and slow down my racing thoughts and not to have a meltdown.
After presenting at the main gate I was told I would not be allowed entrance because I had not brought proof of identity. This didn’t help with my anxiety ha. I explained that I hadn’t been told this in the email.
This issue was quickly resolved by the meeting being moved to another building opposite the prison.
The meeting went really well. There was 8 of us who attended, and It was great to hear some of the art projects that the prison was already involved in. We agreed that I would come back in September with the High Sheriff to have a look at the classroom, facilities and speak about new projects and ways we could do them by incorporating my techniques. We was there for around an hour and it was a very positive proactive vibe.
Being able to help out with the prison services is yet again another opportunity that I feel very privileged to have.
Look out for updates in the coming months.