To mark Remembrance Sunday, seven members of Serco staff from HMP Lowdham Grange walked along the 33 mile canal path from Grantham to Nottingham last weekend, with two more colleagues joining them for the final fourteen miles, in aid of the Royal British Legion. The weather fortunately held out for the dedicated walkers who fought through the mud and passed hissing swans to finally complete the walk at Trent Bridge.
So far the walkers have managed to raise £1,000 for the UK's leading Service charity, with more activities planned in the future.
There are significant numbers of ex-Service people currently serving custodial sentences in England and Wales; figures range from between 3% and 16% of the prison population. The Royal British Legion is one of a number of organisations that assist veterans in custody, particularly with their reintegration back into society having served their sentences. This resettlement support aims to reduce reoffending, which not only benefits the individual and their family but also the wider community.
At HMP Lowdham Grange, Serco has recently introduced the 'Veterans in Custody Model', which aims to provide on-going advice and guidance, as well as dedicated services, to the ex-services population within the prison. This involves a dedicated 'Veterans in Custody Team' referring prisoners to external organisations that offer welfare and specialist support to veterans in custody, such as the Royal British Legion. This service is available from a prisoner's arrival at HMP Lowdham Grange and continues until their departure.
Diane Nicholson, Resettlement Services Manager at HMP Lowdham Grange said: "We wanted to raise money for a very worthy cause whilst raising awareness of the number of ex-service people in custody and the support available to them. The 'Veterans in Custody' programme at HMP Lowdham Grange has recently been reviewed, updated and re-launched and now involves staff who are themselves ex-Service people".