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3Pillars Project were invited to an All-Party Parliamentary Group roundtable in The House of Lords

This week, 3Pillars were invited to The House of Lords to take part in the Sport and Physical Activity in the Criminal Justice System APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) roundtable discussion.

The discussion was led by three members of the House of Lords, Baroness Sater, Lord Wasserman and Lord Addington and we felt that it was a hugely positive step towards enhancing the role of exercise and sport in prisons.

Accompanying us at the table were a number of other leading voluntary organisations and social enterprises who deliver sports based programmes in prisons right across the country, including parkrun, Cell Workout, The 180 Project and Street Soccer London. It was an exciting place for 3Pillars to be, and a clear recognition of the importance of the work we are doing to empower people in prison to take control of their lives through our GAMEPLAN programme.

The room was filled with tangible energy and passion, but also with mounds of valuable expertise and experience. Together, we assessed the current landscape of physical activity and sport in prisons, and also the challenges and barriers we face when delivering our work in prisons. We shared learnings and successes, discovered organisations and projects we didn’t know before and laid the foundations for future partnerships.


Finally, we were each asked to contribute our own recommendations to be included in the APPG report. 3Pillars took this opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of lived-experience peer support. Prison leavers who have committed to turning their lives around are so often proof to people in prison that they too are capable of living a different life. At 3Pillars, we believe that they are the catalyst to change in a prisoner’s life, and also the person who guides and motivates them through that journey of change.

Many other organisations there were in agreement that the red tape which often prevents lived-experience individuals from entering prisons and therefore hinders their crucial involvement in our programmes should be re-evaluated.

By the end of the afternoon, one thing was abundantly clear. For a long time we have been seeing the impact that sport can have on people in prison and we know how vital exercise is to both our physical and mental well-being. So, it’s about time that the impact of physical activity programmes in prisons are properly recognised, integrated into government policy and sufficiently funded.

We left feeling hopeful for the future of sport in prisoner rehabilitation and we are looking forward to seeing the finished report. For now though, we will continue our work alongside these other incredible organisations to empower people involved in the criminal justice system to transform their futures.


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