Chess has been an incredible tool in our prisons so far with learners across our prison sites taking advantage of the opportunity. The UK Government is paying interest in the development of children in underpriviledged areas, investing £1m in the promotion of chess playing.
Over the previous year we have had a lot of positive outcomes from introducing chess into our prison education system. From learners taking part in international chess tournaments and holding the first ever UK inter-prison chess tournament.
So, what are the benefits of chess and how is it helping prisoners?
Read below to see how introducing chess into our prison sites is benefiting our learners both inside and outside of prison.
The benefits of chess for our learners
There are many benefits to learners playing chess from helping them develop valuable skills to improving learners' health and behaviour.
Chess promotes a wide range of mental benefits, such as:
- Problem solving skills
- Strategic planning
- Consequence of actions
- Improved memory
- Improved focus
- Enhanced maths skills
- Better attention span
- Heightened concentration
- Better Self Esteem
- Boredom relief
- Stress relief
- Better pattern recognition
These benefis are particularly important for those learners who are neurodivergent, who can benefit from improved concentration and cognitive skills.
How chess helps to reduce reoffending
Incorporating games of chess into prison education has helped our learners to develop valuable skills and qualities that can benefit them both inside and outside of prison.
The skills learners develop whilst playing chess are transferable to many other aspects of their lives i.e., finding employment after release which will help to reduce reoffending.
Learning how to control their emotions is a huge benefit that playing chess offers to our learners. A skill that will benefit learners massively upon release. By being able to channel their emotions in a healthy way, learners will be able to; make better decisions, think rationally, find employment more easily and reintergrate back into society.
Building positive relationships through chess
Not only does chess benefit our learners through skills, behaviour and emotions but also helps learners develop their social skills too.
Chess has the potential to inspire teamwork and friendships among our learners, many of whom have never had the opportunity to engage socially in a healthy way with others before.
Being part of a chess club develops community skills and helps learners to develop friendships in a positive way. It also gives them the social skills that they will need upon release such as new ways to engage with people and the option to engage in productive activities outside of their work and home life.
Working with external partners
Organising and being invovled in chess tournaments allows Novus and prisons to work with external partners.
For updates on our chess tournaments keep an eye on our news section.