Market Positioning

Prison Arts Foundation:

Expanding its market position and creating strong and relevant partnerships to build resilience

The organisation

The Prison Arts Foundation (PAF) is a unique art training organisation which works within prisons in Northern Ireland using independent art teachers. PAF was set up 19 years ago with the aim of using a range of art forms to transform the lives of prisoners by encouraging them to open up and undergo therapy at the same time. Its teachers use a variety of media to support the rehabilitation of prisoners including art, drama, dance and music. It is a small charity with a dedicated and enthusiastic team.

Why was the grant needed?

1. Employment of a full time Development Offer to support PAF in offering its rehabilitative service in the community

PAF were aware that there was both a need and demand for its services outside of prison. Due to cutbacks in the prison service it realised that in order to support long term stability the organisation should be extending its services to support people post prison. This includes those on probation and those serving non-custodial community services. The foundation also wanted to reach more women. The creation of a Development Officer position would allow PAF to develop a dedicated community arts programme outside of the prison system.

2. Building on existing partnerships with key agencies

To become more resilient there was a need for PAF to develop new relationships and opportunities with other organisations concerned with the rehabilitation of offenders. A key role of the Development Officer would be to both build on existing partnerships and to identify new partners to work with on collaborative projects in the community.

Key achievements following the Triangle Trust grant award

The grant has given PAF the opportunity to utilise a Development Officer in order to achieve a lasting presence in the wider community, thereby ensuring the long term reliance of the organisation. Some of the key achievements following the grant are:

  • 9 new funders and grant giving organisations developed as additional income streams
  • 70% of Artist Assignments now take place within the community and 22% of total workshops are now delivered in the community
  • Launch of an independent inquiry into the impact of participation in PAF’s programmes
  • A reduction in recidivism rates for participants in PAF’s community based arts programme. Out of 31 active or complete mentoring relationships only 1 mentee was recalled during his engagement in the mentoring programme
  • PAF’s Creative Art Programmes in the community have been developed and involved probation intervention and outreach intervention for both women and men
  • A 2 year pilot Arts Mentoring schemes for ex-offenders has been developed and approved by the board of trustees

Additional benefits from the grant

As well as allowing PAF to expand its reach into community based arts rehabilitation projects the grant has also meant that PAF have been awarded a further grant from Bromley Trust which will continue to cover a part time Development Workers salary and core costs. This means that PAF can continue its work outside of the prison system and increase its resilience and sustainability despite a reduction in funding from the Prison Service.