Monday 22 March, 2021

Goldsmiths’ Company Charity bolsters commitment to women prisoners

The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity has recently awarded a large grant to Goldsmiths, University of London, to help support its Open Book Prisoner Education Project expansion into women’s prisons.
Open Book works with prisoners to offer accredited specialised education modules in a variety of humanities and social science subjects. The qualification gained constitutes a Level 3 preparation qualification, or Extended Project, which is accredited by the OCR exam board and is the equivalent of an A-level qualification. The purpose of the programme is to engage prisoners’ interest in higher-level education, supporting the possibility of university study either during or after their sentence.

Evidence has shown that education programmes increase ex-offender’s employability, improving their ability to provide for their families and communicate with others as well as improving their general wellbeing. In turn this has seen a decline in reoffending.

The Open Book project has been running for nearly fourteen years and has had a specific focus on helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into university. The programme expanded into Prisoner Education in 2017. It has run in HMP Isis and Wandsworth, as well as within the women’s prison Downview. Upon completion of the programme, students at Downview have completed rigorous access courses and successfully applied to study at Goldsmiths, University of London, at full degree-level.

The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity will be supporting the Open Book project within Downview, and another women’s prison in the South East; funding the education of up to 50 women across these institutions.

Ciorsdan Brown, Head of Charitable Partnerships & Strategy at the Goldsmiths’ Company Charity said:

 “We are extremely proud to be bolstering our commitment to projects and organisations working on the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners. Our support for The Open Book programme aligns particularly well with this, encompassing both access to educational opportunities and tailored support for women in prison. Throughout the pandemic the environment for people in prison and those who work to support them has been extremely difficult to navigate. We hope that this funding will go some way towards recognising their efforts and, as raising funds becomes increasingly competitive, supporting those who have seen resources further diminish over the year.” 

For more information on the Open Book Prisoner Education Project, visit the Goldsmiths’ University page here

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