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COMMENDEES 2012-13: Instructors: for contributions to the environment, offender training and knife crime awareness at HMP Everthorpe.

An anti-knife crime awareness garden has won a gold medal and ‘best in show’ award from the Royal Horticultural Society – and its creators have won a commendation from the Butler Trust for the important work behind it.

Lee Scholes and Glen Jackson, working in partnership for the last five years to oversee a party of 20 offenders in designing, developing and maintaining the internal grounds of HMP Everthorpe, proved themselves to be so impressive in this role that they were asked to submit a proposal for a themed garden at the RHS Tatton Park Show. At the same time the pair had heard about the Prince’s Trust Community Impact Award Scheme that offered match funding for projects that could improve a community. With the aid of Prince’s Trust staff, they recruited a group of offenders and helped them devise a plan for the antiknife crime awareness garden.

Lee and Glen set up an independent body to raise money for the project and approached local companies, dignitaries, MPs and celebrities to support the campaign. They undertook sponsored events, including climbing, canoeing and cycling, all in their own time, and raised £30,000 for the project to go ahead.

Building the garden enabled the offenders to use skills they had learned in prison

workshops, including painting, horticulture, woodwork, bricklaying, plumbing, art and design. It also helped to develop interpersonal skills to stand them in good stead for gaining employment on release. Both perpetrators and victims of knife crime worked together on the project, helping to send out the important message of ‘save a life, drop the knife’.

Winning awards at the RHS show brought the garden to the attention of the show’s 100,000 visitors and various media, raising awareness of knife crime to an international audience.

According to HMP Everthorpe’s Governor, Ed Cornwall, Lee and Glen have shared their energy and passion to train offenders and truly turn their lives around.

‘They have both made our prison and the wider community a brighter, safer place,’ he said.

For more information: contact HMP Everthorpe

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