At Novus, we are always looking for innovative ways to engage learners especially through our creative arts and enrichment programmes. Recently, learners at HMP Liverpool had the opportunity to take part in the Sing Inside Ambassador programme run by Sing Inside.
Sing Inside is a supplier of music and singing workshops in prisons across the UK. Their singing workshops help to develop learners' confidence, facilitated through the connection to others, improving teamwork skills and boosting wellbeing.
Providing new and innovative opportunities for learners
The Sing Inside Ambassador Scheme at HMP Liverpool encouraged learners to work closely with the Sing Inside team to organise, promote and deliver Sing Inside workshops in the prison, with support and co-operation between ambassadors and prison staff.
The aim of the programme was to place the voices and desires of people in prison at the heart of what they deliver, ensuring their work meets the needs and improves the outcomes for learners through a structured programme of engagement.
Since April 2023 four leadership training sessions, three workshops and a family session have taken place. The ambassadors planned the workshops and family day, and the opportunity was open to the wider prison.
Impact of the programme
During the sessions, learners worked with volunteers, Sing Inside staff and the ambassadors. They learned several songs as a group and worked together as a team. The singing sessions had a positive impact on learners who were able to develop their confidence, improve teamwork skills and improve their wellbeing.
The programme also gave learners the opportunity to apply to be ambassadors in the programme. The ambassadors helped Sing Inside choose the music and took part in musical leadership training where interested. They were also given the responsibility of promoting the programme across the prison, answering questions from other learners, and greatly increasing the interest. The opportunity empowered learners to organise, plan and support people to access the programme and gave them a role in the team and a sense of belonging.
The programme was a huge success amongst learners who commented positively on the experience:
I learnt a lot about singing, including notes and harmonies, transferable skills include teamwork, listening, socialising and singing together.
I sang in a Welsh male choir and being part of this has made me feel like I was back home.
Research conducted by the Ministry of Justice has found that maintaining family ties can reduce the likelihood of reoffending by 39%. Introducing the family session into the Sing Inside programme enables learners to strengthen the relationship with their family and maintain that support system, giving them a better chance at successful rehabilitation. The family session proved popular amongst families who spoke positively about their experience:
It was so lovely to be able to sing together in a relaxed area, the children loved singing with their uncle and playing the games. Everyone joined in, there was lots of laughter and the staff made it a special day.
Our arts and enrichment programmes are essential to our curriculum, giving our learners the opportunity to express themselves in a positive way. To learn more about our projects and initiatives take a look at our creative enrichment strategy.