LandWorks, the award-winning prisoner resettlement scheme at Dartington, welcomed 275 supporters, volunteers, and partners to its annual Supporters Day on 14th July 2023 to celebrate 10 remarkable years of achievement.
Despite the damp weather, the event attracted a record turnout and raised over £3,000 through sales of the charity’s wooden and ceramic gifts, garden furniture and freshly grown vegetables. Over 100 copies of LandWorks’ powerful and thought-provoking new book Acceptance were also purchased, along with several hundred raffle tickets.
Since LandWorks opened its doors in July 2013, it has helped over 200 ex-offenders to find a route back into the community and employment through a combination of vocational skills training, practical living support, and counselling. Some 94% of former trainees seeking employment are in work, and fewer than 6% go on to reoffend within a year.
Reflecting on the project’s achievements in his supporter’s day address, Totnes and South Devon MP Anthony Mangnall said: “LandWorks is the most extraordinary local organisation. For over 10 years it has quietly and successfully helped hundreds of people out of prison and back into society. The LandWorks model should not just be unique to South Devon but should be put in place across the whole country.”
Reinforcing this message, Professor Nick Hardwick, Former Chair of the Parole board and HM Chief Inspector of HM Prisons said: “At a time when the prison system is facing many challenges, Ministers should note that LandWorks provides one of the best examples in the country of how we can reduce reoffending, turn lives around and prevent future victims.”
LandWorks graduate and horticultural apprentice Sam spoke movingly about how the charity has helped him to turn his life around: “What has LandWorks done for me? It has given me multiple opportunities to develop, grow and reinvent myself, from career and education to mental health and self-worth. Each one just as important as the others.”
Looking to the future, Ted Tuppen CBE, LandWorks Chair of Trustees said: “As we move into our next decade, we do so with confidence. We will continue to learn, and to develop the services that we offer to our trainees and graduates. Against this background, we will invest more spreading our message, influencing Government and those responsible for prisoners and those on probation, and helping to build a better future for offenders.”
He went on to thank Project Director and Founder, Chris Parsons, for his “determination, hard work and outstanding commitment” and paid tribute to LandWorks’ “exceptional team.”
Officially launched at the Supporters Day, Acceptance tells the inside story of how LandWorks is helping to reduce reoffending and transform lives. Dr Sarah Wollaston, LandWorks Trustee and Former Chair of the Commons Select Committee on Health and Social Care (2014 to 2019) has described the book as: “An absolutely compelling account, told through personal blogs and stories, of all that is wrong with our criminal justice system and how a remarkable charity called LandWorks has created a holistic alternative that brings hope for the future. Heart-breaking and uplifting in equal measure, and a vision for what could be achieved.”
Acceptance can be purchased online at LandWorks.org.uk, and at the LandWorks shop on the Dartington Estate, priced £10, with all proceeds going to fund the project.