Beyond Recovery, the social enterprise providing insight-based wellbeing programmes for people in prison and the community, is to provide a remote learning service. Jacqueline Hollows and her team have created a self-study programme, in partnership with Notts Violence Reduction Unit, to be piloted in HMP Nottingham and HMP Ranby later this summer.

Reducing violence

The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is a partnership that brings together specialists from local government, health education, policing and criminal justice, to work with communities and the third sector. Their aim is to reduce serious violence while tackling its underlying causes. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Beyond Recovery ran a successful project in association with Notts VRU, called Free Minds, Free People.

The programme was specially designed for men aged between 18 and 25 who were currently serving or had recently been released from HMP Nottingham. Its success lay in helping them to recognise their inner resources and ability to change their attitudes and expectations.

Supporting the vulnerable

Beyond Recovery has had to adapt its approach considerably since the onset of the pandemic. The team decided to support people in prison remotely when it became impossible to provide face-to-face programme delivery. This included writing letters to vulnerable individuals each week and providing engaging activity packs to help occupy and inspire those facing up to 23 hours a day locked in their cells.

A recent survey revealed that their approach has been very well received. One prison representative commented: “The Beyond Recovery Activity Packs are a great resource and a good way to distract those who feel isolated due to the Covid 19 lockdown.”

Free Minds, Free People

Beyond Recovery has now developed a remote self-study programme to enable people in prison to focus on their wellbeing while social distancing remains a priority. The Free Minds, Free People self-study programme will enable participants to gain an understanding of the mind which has proved life-changing for many individuals in prison. Outcomes have included:

  • a reduction in violent and aggressive acts
  • a break in the cycle of violence
  • an increase in levels of consciousness, including feelings of compassion & empathy
  • an increase in pro-social behaviour

Jacqueline Hollows, founder of Beyond Recovery commented: “We are thrilled to be trialling our remote learning service in HMP Nottingham and Ranby prisons in association with Notts VRU. Our team has worked tirelessly to produce an inspiring and impactful programme so we can continue to help those in prison and the community to uncover their mental health. We can’t wait to get started!”

Derrick Mason, Project Co-ordinator for Beyond Recovery added: “Having my own life transformed by the Beyond Recovery team and the understanding they teach has given me a strong drive to help others experience the same. I’m proud and excited to be taking our pilot self-study programme into prison and I know it will make a big difference to those taking part.”

You can find out more about the impact that the Beyond Recovery programme achieved by visiting: