Following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on COVID-19, as of yesterday, Spark Inside has closed our office and temporarily ceased the delivery of our coaching workshops and one-to-one sessions in prisons.
Although it was a difficult decision, it was made following discussions with others in the sector, including prison governors, and is based on the government’s advice on social distancing. We are upholding our duty of care to the people that we coach in prisons, to those that work for us and everybody that works alongside us.
The people in prison will experience a pause in their coaching journeys, but we will continue to monitor developments and follow government guidelines, and we remain hopeful that we can re-start the coaching programmes in the near future. In the meantime, this approach will protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and coaches, as well as the people living and working prison.
The Spark Inside team has been set up to work from home and under the leadership of our CEO, we are using this time to reflect, evaluate, contingency plan, innovate and ready ourselves for what could be a new world. We are working hard to ensure that we continue to coach young men post-prison, and will work in partnership with others across the criminal justice system to develop new ways of reaching young men with our coaching approach during this time. We will continue to nurture our relationships and will ramp-up our work to raise awareness of the importance of rehabilitation and to influence prison policy.
We want to take this opportunity to thank our funders and donors, who make our work possible – particularly those that have lead the way in adapting their processes to support us and other charities during such an unprecedented time.
Finally, although we pause delivery with great sadness, we are certain that it is the right thing to do and we will be reaching out to other organisations across the sector to navigate this unchartered territory.