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A charity helped by Norwich prisoners

PUBLISHED: 12:13 20 February 2011 | UPDATED: 12:15 20 February 2011

Tony Grimmer from The Benjamin Foundation

Tony Grimmer from The Benjamin Foundation

Keith Whitmore

The Benjamin Foundation benefited from getting its new Restore shop in Dereham ahead of schedule thanks to the prisoners' help.

Serving prisoner Tom Wright

Tony Grimmer, manager of Restore Dereham said: “Having the extra help from Norwich Prison will undoubtedly help us to bring the opening date of Restore Dereham forward and enable us to start appealing for stock at an earlier date. So it will save us both money and time and also means that we will be trading and helping the foundation earlier than would have been the case without any help.”

Restore Dereham will sell second-hand furniture to raise funds for the services that the charity delivers to children, young people and families in Norfolk, primarily helping them deal with “everyday” issues such as childcare and parenting challenges and issues such as abuse, bullying or homelessness.

Davina Tanner, general manager of Chapelfield, has been one of the driving forces behind the scheme that has seen Restore benefit and is hoping other organisations will be happy to also get involved.

One of those involved in the scheme is Del Davies, 42 from Old Buckenham near Attleborough, is serving a five-year sentence for producing counterfeit money.

Serving prisoner Del Davies

He is looking forward to getting out of Britannia House, the open unit at Norwich prison, and trying to get back into working life when he is due to be released in 17 months.

“This is the first charity day I’ve done and it’s great, certainly time well spent as opposed to spending time behind doors at Britannia House.

“I spend most of my time in the gym when there, so the chance to learn some skills and give something back to the community is good.

“I’m struggling to keep my house while I’m inside, so if I can get a paid job while I’m inside then I can keep things going. It will hopefully also stop me creeping back into a life of crime.

“This is the sort of scheme that I would think about getting involved with if I was out of prison. I would gladly get involved because it is for a good cause.”

Tom Wright, 24, from Diss, is one year into a three and-a-half year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.

He says the Custody and Community Manpower initiative has been a big help for him as he tries to find some normality again after having to deal with being culpable for the death of his girlfriend.

“It is nice to be out and about away from prison but for me personally, I went to prison because of one stupid mistake. I lost everything in a split second.

As a result of that, I became a recluse.

“I lost the will to live because my girlfriend died in the crash. I really wanted the chance to give something back to the community, because I caused a lot of pain to a lot of people.

“I was on bail for a year and I have been in prison for a year and I never worked in that time. I became a real recluse because I was scared to leave the house.

“I had my own business and house so I wanted to work to try and keep hold of them so that I have something to go back to.

“Schemes like this can help me to do that.”

If you have a business or charity that would like to get involved with the Custody and Community Manpower initiative then please send a letter to Davina Tanner, Chapelfield Management Offices, 40-46 St Stephens Street, Norwich, NR1 3SH.

For more on The Benjamin Foundation visit: www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk.

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