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 and CEO, 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.
Our Hero’s Journey
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 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.
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.
We believe in change. We run two innovative coaching programmes that have been proven to have a positive impact on the lives of our participants. To date, we have worked with 1,000 prisoners and prison officers.
In addition to delivering our coaching programmes, we advocate for prison policy change, and change in the way we understand our prisons.