Prison gets crafty in aid of Gift Tree

Ricky Cameron and Willie Faulkner with art tutor Vicky Irvine and PPL's Ken Duncan
Ricky Cameron and Willie Faulkner with art tutor Vicky Irvine and PPL's Ken Duncan

Prisoners at HMP and YOI Grampian have been getting crafty in aid of this year’s Gift Tree project.

With some work parties already packing festive food hampers for individuals and families most in need at this time of year, those attending art classes in the prison have come up with a novel way of raising funds for the initiative.

With the help of art tutor Vicky Irvine, prisoners have been creating Christmas Tree decorations made out of clay.

With designs including trees, baubles, stars and hearts, the festive decorations have been sold to staff with proceeds already totaling £120 donated to the Gift Tree food hamper scheme.

Vicky, who works within the Fife College Offender Learning Programme, explained: “We have been really fortunate in getting a kiln and potter’s wheel purchased for the art department and to start the guys off, we introduced them to working with clay and using the cutters to create the shapes.

“They really took to it and came up with some fantastic designs which they have coloured, glazed and fired in the kiln.

Vicky added: “They were quite rightly very proud of their festive creations and then they came up with the idea of selling the decorations to raise money for the Gift Tree food hamper initiative which has also been well supported by the prison.”

The men and women have been working hard with Vicky over the past month making an array of general and bespoke made-to-order decorations and were on hand to present a bumper cheque for £120 accepted by Peterhead Project’s development manager Ken Duncan on behalf of the Gift Tree scheme.

Governor Jim Farish added: “We are all very proud of the prisoners’ commitment to the Gift Tree project and we have been hugely-impressed by the quality and flair shown in their festive decorations.

“I would also like to thank staff for their support in purchasing the decorations and remind them that there’s still time yet to make additional purchases!”

Simon Bedford of the Here for You partnership said: “Once again we are indebted to those at HMP and YOI Grampian for supporting our food hamper initiative this year.

“There has been a fantastic response to this year’s Gift Tree from a very early stage and I would like to thank all our hosts, partner agencies and the community of Peterhead for that ongoing support.”