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Launch of Good Vibrations Open Voices pilot at Holloway Prison

Yesterday we started our pilot Open Voices project at Holloway Prison.  Nearly 40 women turned up for the first session – and they loved it!  Prison officers in attendance also joined in.  And we hear that there was singing back on the wings last night.  

For some while now, we’ve been wanting to try out running singing (specifically gospel singing) sessions with women in prison. Singing is something that many women tell us they would like to try and feel they would benefit from.  And gospel is a wonderful artform: uplifting, joyful, communal and accessible to all, so it fits perfectly with the Good Vibrations ethos.  We are delighted to be working with British Gospel Arts (the educational arm of the world-renowned London Community Gospel Choir) on this project. 

The aims of the project are to encourage women to engage in a positive group activity, to stick at something, to improve communication skills and team-working skills, to reduce feelings of anger and stress, and to develop their confidence and motivation to engage with other purposeful activities.  All these are crucial positive first steps to addressing offending behaviour.  The prison will be providing data to enable us to assess the extent to which we achieve our aims.

The Open Voices project continues for the next 10 weeks.  As well as weekly sessions for mainstream women prisoners, we are running separate weekly sessions for women with serious mental health problems, who are accommodated in a separate unit within the prison. 

The final performance will be on the afternoon of Tuesday 21 August – get in touch if you would like to join us!

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Photography by Toby Madden/The Independent, Osman Deen/South London Press, Camilla Panufnik, Elspeth Van Der Hole, GDA Design, Gigi Chiying Lam, G. Bland, Alan Bryden, Mark Carlin, Rachel Cherry, Francois Boutemy, Andy Hollingworth, Rebaz Yassin, and Guy Smallman.

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