An arts charity that works to reduce offending and reoffending rates has been awarded more than £5,000 to support a film and radio group in Scotland’s biggest prison.
Creative Change Collective will use the funding from the National Lottery’s Community Fund to pay for equipment for the group to produce their own film and radio content at HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow.
Their work will be broadcast nationally across other Scottish prisons. Earlier this year, the charity commissioned crime writer Chris Dolan to work with the same group to produce a scripted radio play around the theme of volunteering opportunities after release from prison.
Award-winning writer Dolan has worked on Taggart and River City as well as plays for the theatre, short stories and radio documentaries and features for BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 3 and 4.
The project was designed to support offenders to think about preparing for life outside of prison, making positive choices and helping them develop new skills and confidence.
The £5,383 funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, means the charity can support the Barlinnie group to create their own film and radio content.
Creative Change Collective uses the arts and creative processes associated with film, theatre, and performance to help people achieve more positive outcomes.
The charity also delivers a drama therapy programme, Anonymous Drama, to prisons. Most of the participants are people who would usually have no interest in drama or therapy. Anonymous Drama is also delivered to groups of participants serving community sentences and in residential rehabilitation units to people in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions.
HMP Barlinnie’s radio station ‘Barbed Wireless’ launched in November 2020 with the aim of informing prisoners about health issues, life skills, rehabilitation, and post-release opportunities.
It also serves as an education centre, with prisoners able to learn about all aspects of creating and producing radio and film content.
Mark MacNicol, Creative Change Collective’s Project Director, said:
“This programme is making a huge difference to people trying to turn their lives around in prison and we are delighted to have this support from the National Lottery Community Fund.
“This means we will be able to do more to encourage and support people in prison to learn new skills, develop their confidence and sense of teamwork, and prepare for life outside of prison in a way that makes it less likely they will re-offend.
“We are always looking for new ways to address social issues through the power of the arts and creativity and new partnerships to help us.”
A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said:
“We are delighted that Creative Change Collective has been awarded this funding to support the work they do in HMP Barlinnie.
“Drama can play an important role in helping those in our care build confidence, improve their communication skills, and develop relationships with staff and peers.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Creative Change Collective on this exciting production.”