Blundeston Prison workshop wins award

THE quality workmanship and positive atmosphere of the metal workshop at Blundeston Prison has earned it a coveted national award.

Prisoners and staff are celebrating after it beat off stiff competition from 500 others across the UK to secure the Elton Trophy for best performing prison workshop.

The annual award recognises the productivity of workshops, the number of prisoners using them and the quality of the items made by the inmates.

Blundeston's workshop impressed the award's judge by the quality of the metalwork that the inmates produce for the prison, such as gates and railings.

Prisoners also impressed the judges by the quality of the sculptures they design and make from waste material.

The 150 eye-catching creations made in the last year include a turtle, a heron, a boot, scorpion and even one in the shape of a Spitfire aircraft.

Some of the sculptures are given to community groups in the area. And, as reported in last week's Journal, the prisoners made a bench for Blundeston which has been put up outside the village hall as a tribute to the work of former parish council clerk, Barbara Shaw.

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At any one time, 26 prisoners are based in the workshop, which has three staff and also gives inmates a chance to learn new skills to take into the job market after they are released.

In awarding the Elton Trophy to Blundeston Prison, the award judge said: 'The atmosphere in the workshop was second to none with everyone supporting each other' and that offenders were being given good opportunities for the future.'

The Elton Trophy has been awarded since 1984 and it was the first time Blundeston Prison has won it.

Copies of the trophy have been made for inmates at the workshop. Stewart Chandler, head of learning, skills and activities at the workshop, said: 'We are all over the moon to win the Elton Trophy. 'We are all chuffed to bits. I want to say a thank you to the prisoners and the staff for helping to get this award.'

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