06 July 2015
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) played host to the Go Beyond conference, an event celebrating a trailblazing horticulture and environmental conservatism programme in North West prisons and the wider offender system.
The day was focused on ‘Greener on The Outside: Prisons and Probation’ (GOOP), a programme delivered over the past eight years aimed at enhancing physical, mental, social and environmental wellbeing of offenders and developing skills and employability.
Opened by Mike Thomas, interim vice chancellor at UCLan, speakers included Graham Duxbury, chief executive at Groundwork UK, Alan Scott, deputy director custodial services North West at the Ministry of Justice and Janet Thomas from the National Probation Service.
“It was brilliant to have so many thought-leaders in this field at UCLan, putting their heads together to move this conversation forward."
Talks ranged from Public Health England’s Jackie Roberts and UCLan’s Alan Farrier discussing impact, evidence and evaluation, to Pam Warhurst from Incredible Edible (Todmorden) illustrating the wider benefits and arguing that horticulture is more than just growing vegetables.
Other topics included from the impact of ‘wider determinants’ for those in the justice system, to an evaluation of GOOPs impact.
Dr Michelle Baybutt, Programme Lead: Health, Inclusion and Citizenship at UCLan said: “It was brilliant to have so many thought-leaders in this field at UCLan, putting their heads together to move this conversation forward. We all strongly believe that integrated strategic environmental initiatives can improve wellbeing and quality of life, reduce health inequalities and have a positive impact on the drive to reduce re-offending.”
"We’re actively seeking further funding so we can continue this work, and improve the lives of offenders, their families and the wider community.”
The GOOP programme is funded by the Big Lottery’s Wellbeing2 Programme. The funding window is coming to an end, but the project leads are confident that more will be secured and a national roll out will follow.
Dr Baybutt continued: “Horticulture and environmental conservatism can have a significant positive impact on offenders. GOOPs success over the past eight years is evidence of this. We’re actively seeking further funding so we can continue this work, and improve the lives of offenders, their families and the wider community.”