Wiltshire-based charity lands grant to teach woodwork skills to prisoners

This Is Wiltshire: The Refurbiz team pictured at a recent open day with Devizes Mayor Pete Smith, second left, and Andrew Farrow, front The Refurbiz team pictured at a recent open day with Devizes Mayor Pete Smith, second left, and Andrew Farrow, front

The charity Kennet Furniture Refurbiz has won a two-year grant of £15,000 to go towards the salary of a woodwork supervisor who will teach furniture restoration and repair skills to offenders at Erlestoke Prison.

Devizes-based KFR collects donations of furniture and white goods for repair and resale at affordable prices. It also provides volunteer placements to those experiencing long-term unemployment due to barriers including mental health and lack of transport.

The new grant, from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales, will open up volunteering opportunities to offenders at Erlestoke Prison by providing them with training when they leave prison or on day release.

Andrew Farrow, fundraiser at KFR, said: “There is a high demand for practical skills and training due to cuts in prison training programmes.

“Many ex-offenders experience low confidence and poor employment prospects after release but with this new volunteering programme we will be able to provide beneficiaries with skills and prevent re-offending.”

The Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales provides funding for small and medium charities that support disadvantaged people to play a fuller role in communities. Last year, the foundation awarded £18.4 million to 826 charities with £129,000 awarded to charities in Wiltshire.

Emma Beeston, grant manager for the West of England at the Foundation, said: “Kennet Furniture Refurbiz is providing practical skills to help people overcome barriers to employment and become integrated into their local communities.

“The Foundation is committed to supporting underfunded charities that are making a significant difference to the lives of disadvantaged people helping them to play a fuller role in the community.”

Local or regional charities with an income up to £1 million and national charities with an income up to £5 million can find out more about the funding criteria and grant programmes at www.lloydstsbfoundations.org.uk.

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