Funding Our Work
Good Vibrations, a registered charity (number 1126493), relies on charitable donations and grants to keep our work going. While we insist that every institution that hosts a Good Vibrations course makes a financial contribution towards our costs, for the time being at least the reality is that most are simply not able to pay anything like the full costs of one of our courses.
Prisons are having their budgets cut every year, while at the same time unprecedented over-crowding in the prison system creates huge pressures on their resources and organisational capacity. In addition, prison education funding (the most obvious category of prison activity that Good Vibrations's work falls under) is almost entirely tied up in large-scale 'prison education providers', meaning that the prisons themselves have virtually no discretionary funding for educational activities.
Despite repeated pronouncements from NOMS over the last few years about the importance of arts in prisons, there is still almost no statutory funding (whether grants or contracts) available for small, 'niche' projects like ours. The government's "Transforming Rehabilitation" programme, currently being set up, threatens to squeeze out many smaller, effective organisations as huge contracts are set up with "prime providers" who will be "paid by results". Obviously payment by results is a sensible idea in theory (if only we were paid by results!) but in practice is likely to focus exclusively on simple 'did he or didn't he' re-offending measures rather than looking at "intermediate outcomes" eg increasing engagement, developing group working skills. For organisations like Good Vibrations, who work with the most "difficult" in the offender population, with those at the very beginning of their "journey" towards reduced reoffending, and who deliver these crucial intermediate outcomes, it is still very far from clear that there will be any significant funding made available. Furthermore, prisoners serving life or very long sentences, are not covered under the "Transforming Rehabilitation" programme and it's not clear what resources will be available for vital interventions such as Good Vibrations.
Good Vibrations is an active member of the Arts Alliance, the network of arts-in-criminal justice organisations that acts as a conduit between our sector and government. We will continue to provide robust, hard-to-ignore evidence for the effectiveness of our work, and to state clearly how the outcomes we (and other arts providers) achieve are crucial steps on the path to rehabilitation. We look forward to finding out over coming months how the government's Transforming Rehabilitation programme will work in practice and in particular how it will enable arts providers to make their crucial contribution.
For the time being at least, in the absence of statutory provision for arts in prisons, Good Vibrations continues to depend on donations and grants from charitable trusts.