August marks the completion of our fifth and final course of the season. It's been an incredible journey over the past year since delivering our pilot course in HMP Wandsworth. We have created a dynamic and dedicated team and managed to attract some fantastic partners.
Partnership and collaboration is the latest buzzword in the the Third Sector, but it really is effective and mirrors strategies well understood by business for years. At 3 Pillars Project we warmly welcome opportunities to partner, believing by working with likeminded partners we can be more than just the sum of our parts. Last Tuesday was a great example of this. We welcomed members of TfL's (Transport for London) HR department to deliver an employability session for the members of the course, covering CV writing, cover letters, interview techniques and job hunting; helping the young men to understand how to apply for jobs with TfL.
Part of our model advocates the introduction of young people to rugby clubs, by inviting teams in to play against our course participants, we can help this process. We welcomed Battersea Ironsides Rugby Club to come and play our 5th course. A competitive but good natured affair saw Ironsides beaten, but impressed by the speed with which the young players from Scrubs picked up the game. We were also fortunate to welcome Ollie Phillips (of England 7s fame) and Barry Murphy, both of PWC and two recent graduates of the Rugby for Heroes programme. An Ironsides player remarked that "this experience has completely changed my perception of people in prison". After a year working in prisons, I agree; there is so much we can do in the community to support people in prison and after it.
A rugby club is an incredibly strong and supportive community and by working with young people released from prison, clubs not only benefit from new players, but have a positive impact on their local community. An ex prisoner who wants to change their life and is supported by the many positive attributes of a rugby club is far less likely to commit crime than a young person released with no support network or hobby. For this reason we are working with a number of rugby clubs to offer support to young people leaving prison. We warmly welcome additional support.
If you'd have told me we would be where we are today, I would have laughed. But such has been the positivity with which people have engaged with the project and offered their support, that we have developed at a fantastic rate. I look forward to what the next year brings and the new people we will support and partner with.
Author: Mike Crofts
Mike is the Founder and CEO of The 3 Pillars Project. A former Army Officer, Mike advocates the power of sport, leadership and positive role models to unlock the potential of young people.