Established in 2012, we have worked with over 1,000 prisoners and prison staff in ten prisons, youth offenders institutions and secure training centres across London and the South East.
In the beginning…
Our Founder, Baillie Aaron, was teaching entrepreneurship in prisons in the USA.
Baillie saw that many people in prison felt there were barriers to living a crime-free future, despite being motivated to change when they connected to their passion – or their “spark inside”.
She wanted to build a programme that would allow these young people to have a purpose to strive towards upon release: a more attractive alternative to a return to crime.
Baillie asked the experts – young Londoners whose lives had been impacted by prison – what they needed. They had two requirements: that no-one told them what to do, and that they had tailored support, that was unique to them and their journeys. Young people wanted coaching.
As Baillie immersed herself in the coaching world, she met an impassioned life coach who designed what is now Spark Inside’s award-winning intervention, Hero’s Journey™ – a structured life coaching programme for 15-to-25-year-olds in prison.
Hero’s Journey™ builds young people’s motivation to change their lives to ultimately reduce reoffending, make society safer, and prevent future victims of crime.
As our Hero’s Journey™ programme grew in prisons across London and the South East, we recognised that an often-tense and chaotic prison environment was not conducive to rehabilitation. The prison culture needed to change.
The Conversation Systems Coaching Programme ® (The Conversation) is piloted
Acting on an appeal for support from a prison governor, our innovative programme team developed and piloted a pioneering systems coaching programme, now named The Conversation Systems Coaching Programme ® (The Conversation).
The Conversation looks less at individuals, and more at their relationships, and how they effect their environment. It aims to improve interactions between prison staff and prisoners, in order to create a safer and more rehabilitative prison environment. This supports prisoners in turning their lives around, making them less likely to reoffend.
We are shortlisted for Best New Charity in the Charity Times Awards 2016.
Hero’s Journey™ Interim Evaluation Results
The Social Investment Consultancy release an independent evaluation of Hero’s Journey™. It shows our programme significantly improved young people’s wellbeing; confidence and resilience; empathy and emotional intelligence; and decision-making and problem-solving skills.
New Spark Inside brand, co-designed with young people at HMPYOI Isis
We conducted a focus group with a group of young men, who sketched-out designs, which became the Spark Inside brand that you see today. One of the focus group participants said: “It was exciting and I’d like to do this kind of thing regularly. It’s nice to be needed for something like this and I hope it helped.”
Winners of the Goodwill Champions: The Wave Makers Award
Spark Inside is delighted to have won the HCL Technologies “Goodwill Champions: The Wave Makers” award for our prison coaching programmes, presented at the World Economic Forum’s 49th Annual Meeting in Davos.
Spark Inside begins the pilot of our tailored life coaching programme for young black men in prison
Two of our specially-trained professional life coaches worked with young black men in HMPYOI Isis, delivering our Hero’s Journey™ life coaching programme, which was adapted to address the specific experiences of young black men in the prison system.
Hero’s Journey™ three-year impact report published
The Social Investment Consultancy evaluated the impact of Hero’s Journey™. The final report shows that across the three years, Spark Inside has made a clear, positive impact on the lives of over 350 young men in prison.
Building on our learning, and the team’s resilience and innovation during a tough year in lockdown, our strategic plan begins with our new vision and mission and sets out our five key aims for the next three years.