26 Jan 2022

London Irish Foundation collaborates with HMP Bronzefield on new initiative

The London Irish Foundation is pleased to report that it has successfully completed the first of a new series of programmes in collaboration with HMP Bronzefield.

HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Middlesex, is the largest women’s prison in Europe with a maximum capacity of 550 inmates with sentence lengths ranging from days to life.

Over a six week period in February and March the Foundation delivered its “B.E.A.T Bronzefield” programme with 14 residents from the Prison.  The purpose of the programme is to improve confidence, social capital and physical and mental health with the aim of reducing re-offending after release through educational and employment opportunities made available through the Foundation.

The programme involved touch rugby sessions and rugby specific circuits in the gym as well as employability and work related skills in the classroom. At the end of the six weeks the residents played in a touch rugby match against London Irish and HMP staff and were presented with a certificate and t-shirt by London Irish’s former player and record try-scorer Topsy Ojo.

Commenting on the success of the project, Tanvir Hynes, Head of Learning, Skills and Employment – Justice Services at Arborfield said, “It was great to build our partnership with London Irish and introduce the residents to touch rugby during our pilot BEAT programme. The residents learned about the values and principles of rugby which included team work, building confidence and self-discipline. They were also put through some rugby based strength and conditioning sessions in the gym!

“Most of the residents on the course had never played rugby before but left the course after the six weeks appreciating the sport and understanding the skills behind the game. Ms Hynes added, “For the last session, London Irish brought in some professional players and presented the residents with certificates of achievement.”

We hope to expand on this partnership with London Irish and offer the programme to more residents going forward. - Tanvir Hynes, Head of Learning, Skills and Employment
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