Prisoners at HMP Grampian in Peterhead are set to trial a new community action and leadership course.
Scottish charity Lead Scotland, which aims to widen access to learning for disabled people and carers, has been awarded funding by Big Lottery Scotland to pilot the course.
The SCQF Level 3 and 5 accredited Community Action and Leadership Award (CALA) was developed to support learners to gain transferable skills and experience for the workplace and their community, such as communication, digital skills, active citizenship, personal development and strengthening the local community via volunteer placements.
It has been successfully delivered in a variety of community settings across Scotland.
However, this is the first time that the course has been delivered in a prison context, and the Big Lottery Investing in Ideas funding will allow Lead Scotland specialists to tailor and develop it to ensure it meets the needs of the prisoners involved and contributes to a reduction in reoffending.
Banff and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming the award and moving that the Parliament “commends what it sees as the group’s positive work in the community, and wishes it the best of luck with its projects.”
Mr Stevenson said: “This is the kind of innovative thinking we need in our communities. I commend their achievements and wish them continued success as they pursue new ways to contribute to the public good.”
Lead Scotland’s North Regional Development Manager Norman MacAskill said: “We are delighted that Big Lottery Scotland is funding us to pilot this course in HMP Grampian.
“We look forward to working with staff at the prison to develop and pilot the course materials and create a version of it that will support offenders to integrate more in the prison community, including taking up further learning opportunities, and help ex-offenders to engage more effectively with their communities following their release.
“We know from experience that this course is beneficial, particularly for people who experience barriers to learning.
“It can support them to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to be able to influence change within their communities, through active citizenship.
“They will also gain an accredited qualification,” he added.