Releasing New Potential opened up the Leyhill Grounds Coffee Shop earlier this month in conjunction with HMP Leyhill.
The coffee shop is open to the public and employs eight offenders. It is based in a former staff mess room which has been refurbished over the last year into a modern café, complete with furniture and artwork made by offenders in prisons.
The project intends to offer offenders the chance to strengthen their skills, providing real life work experience ready for their release in a number of different ways from creating the menus to baking the cakes.
Heather Ellery, Business and Support Manager for Releasing New Potential, said: “We are very excited to be able to offer the men at Leyhill Grounds the opportunity to have real life, meaningful work experience and develop employability skills which will support them on release.
“Working in partnership with HMP Leyhill has been crucial to turn this dream into a reality and we look forward to seeing this progress further in the future.”
Ray Johnson, Deputy Governor of HMP Leyhill, said: “The creation of Leyhill Grounds has a been a journey that the whole prison has bought into, from the woodwork shop in making and installing the furniture, the men in naming the Coffee Shop and many other departments contributing time and effort to make this a reality.
“Partnership working has been essential to ensure the success and we look forward to continuing this relationship and developing the business further.”
The café is open to the general public and can be found on site at HMP Leyhill, with a wide range of drinks and cakes on offer. The facility is also available to hire for private parties, meetings, etc. with food and refreshments being provided.
Releasing New Potential is a Weston College programme with a key focus on supporting people in custody and also those released into the community by improving functional, vocational and transferable skills through services and projects.