The reason we came to be working at Feltham YOI was, rather appropriately, because of a letter. A participant in one of our letter writing groups came to a session with a desire to write to a young offender, having served time himself at Pentonville Prison as an 18-year-old. That letter was sent to Feltham and sparked a dialogue about how It’s Not Your Birthday But… (INYBB) could offer its workshops at Feltham.
Since that first conversation, we have worked with over 70 learners, aged 18-21, across 13 workshops. This pilot programme has shown us the power of engaging people with their own creativity, imaginations and words. Words that enable them to share what’s important or helpful to them, words that allow them to connect with others, words that build other, imaginary worlds and words that help them explore alternative pathways.
All our writers engaged openly and honestly with the programme and were generous and trusting in sharing their, sometimes difficult, experiences. They embraced the idea of helping others, as part of our call to consider how they could take positive social action. This included sharing their advice for new arrivals at the Induction Wing at Feltham, advice for young people around life choices, considering the concept of community and what positive communities need and sharing their own experiences of life in prison with the wider community.
We hope you enjoy reading the work.