2023 / HMP Guys Marsh
Spring Hill (Prison) was a dark place, with a lot of things going wrong and it just seemed like Finding Rhythms came in at the right time. Before, I used to wake up as late as possible to make the day go by, but me and everyone else started getting showers early so we could make it in time for the programme. At first, I saw Robin (the Creative Director) and I was really sceptical, and I know that feeling was shared in the room, especially as there were a lot of egos. But I realised that him and the team were solid musicians who really wanted to help us. I do not know how, but they just created this atmosphere where I was talking and interacting with people who I would not even have given a glance to before. Also, I started to sing. I have an ok voice, but never really used it.
Those guys kind of dragged it out of me, and I’m really happy that they did. I know that the music we made will stick with me for the rest of my life, because it taught me that if I put my mind to something, I can do it. Getting us all together to create an album in 6 days, is mad, but we did it!. When I came out of prison, I just wanted a job, any job. But in the back of my mind, I always knew that I could do more because of that experience. Also, when I look back there were different things I picked up about teamwork and working to targets without even realising. I also appreciate that they have asked me to come back and help out people in prisons.
It's clear that this work is much more than just a nice idea.Sophie Haewood, The Times
The work you guys do is invaluable to establishments such as ourselves. It is easy for us to get lost in the midst of OFSTED targets and recommendations and forget that there are many prisoners here who are incredibly talented. … The fact that you offer a qualification as part of the process only makes the course an even more rewarding and invaluable experience.Mr C Gowlett, Head of Reducing Re-Offending, HMP Swinfen Hall
Being part of a scheme like Finding Rhythms, where they’ve got to work hard, where they’ve had to apply themselves, where they’ve had to complete a task within a set period of time: priceless.Mr G Hawkings, Governor at HMP & YOI Isis
What a fantastic group of people Robin & his Finding rhythms team are! I was amazed by the dedication that Robin & his team had & the quality of music they produced with our prisoners was fantastic. I have never seen a group of prisoners so engaged in all my prison service career which is over 10 years long & this must be credit to the dedication, support, hard work & encouragement that Robin and his team gave.Officer Ross Elderfield HMP & YOI Standford Hill
I was most impressed with the interaction between your musicians and the prison inmates which created a real team atmosphere...Such a huge benefit to the state of mind of those imprisoned....The confidence that was flowing from the room by the end of the session was heartening to witness.Angela Harris, Ironmongers Company (funder)
I've been very isolated, suffering from various mental health afflictions for last few years so this was a good way to reintegrate with group settings and build my confidence so I will be able to apply for jobs in future.Prison participant, HMP Thameside
I'm diagnosed with psychosis, which means I can feel left out or alienated. But in this group there's so much positivity, and the one main thing I've noticed is that on other courses in the jail it's like … everyone stays in their groups. This is the first course I've been on where there's been none of that. It's been one big group, there's been no arguments. On other courses, even if there's been nothing to argue about, because there's people in there from different backgrounds there's always something to start an argument over. But here, even when there's been criticism people have taken it on board and dealt with it in the right way. I haven't even heard anyone swear in here.participant, HMP Rochester