It's the time of year when most of us dust off our best intentions, and attempt to revel in “the spirit of the season”. Even in these ridiculously depressing times, we try to remember what's important and count our blessings and our loved ones.
Many of us gave handmade gifts this year, maybe hand knit socks or embroidered linens, or a snarky cross stitch for that friend with a rotten sense of humor. But how about supporting a charity that teaches people how to do needle work? People who desperately need the solace and confidence that comes from learning how to do something by hand?
Fine Cell Work is the “unofficial charity” of Mr. X Stitch.
What is Fine Cell Work?
“Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products. The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and the earnings give them hope, skills and independence.
Our mission is to rehabilitate prisoners by giving them the opportunity to earn and save money and the chance to reflect on and rebuild their lives through craft and achievement. Prisoners do Fine Cell Work for an average of 3 years: the benefits can therefore be profound”
• Fine Cell Work is now done in 26 prisons
• 80% of the stitchers are men • In 2008, 403 fine cell workers earned a total of £61,890
• The inmates are taught by 50 volunteer instructors
• All our classes have waiting lists
• In 2008 we had roughly 150 offers of volunteering
• In 2004-08 we had enquiries from 63 prisons which we did not have the resources to meet
“Fine Cell Work gives these men dignity in work and through this, dignity in life. When a man gains self-respect he may start addressing his offending behaviour” Officer, HMP Wandsworth
There's an onine shop where you can purchase beautiful needlepoint pillows, or you can participate in their Sponser a Prisoner program and purchase commissioned work using a color pallet of your choosing. And of course they accept donations-
£10 would pay for materials to stitch one tapestry cushion
(100 hours of creative work)
So, if you're looking for a place where you can make a huge impact in someone's life, (and by extension their community when they're released), I urge you to take a look at Fine Cell Work. I wish we had more programs like this.
Click HERE for more info.