HITZ Gloucester: Great Expectations

Tue, April 25, 2017

Previous offenders mentoring the next generation

The Great Expectations initiative team recently paid several visits to learners on the Gloucester HITZ programme, to deliver hard-hitting workshops in crime and punishment. 

Great Expectations engage with young people in the local community to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, through positive engagement, prevention and intervention, by providing young people with an opportunity to meet current and ex-serving prisoners.

The team delivers workshops to young people who may have shown anti-social or reckless behaviour. The young people taking part in the HITZ programme at Gloucester, headed up by our tutor Mike, complete work experience and a sports qualification, as well as benefitting from taking part in a range of workshops including employability and first aid, to equip them to progress onto further training or employment.

Following the Great Expectations workshops, CSL Tutor Mike Hoult said:

“The respect and level of engagement was fantastic and the students benefitted in various ways. Some saw examples of drugs and the effects – and potential side effects which made them evaluate the choices of what they put into their bodies. Others heard accounts and watched videos which enlightened and motivated them to make better life choices – to try and keep away from crime, and people who are involved in crime.”

HITZ learner Tom said: 

“It inspired me to share my story. I felt really sorry for the female prisoner – I could relate to her.”

HITZ Officer Matt Russell said:

“Having serving prisoners sharing their experiences - leaves an individual distinctive and relatable impression on every person in the room. These students can be very easily disengaged but through both of the 3 hour sessions, every single one of the students not only listened, but were actively involved”

The Gloucester learners met with criminals who are currently in custody and were able to engage first hand and listen to their personal stories. HITZ learner Katie found the workshops to be relatable and a real insight into the consequence of crime.  “When I listened to the talks, it made me realise how lucky I was and how brave I was. It was hard to hear what some went through but also I felt my heart break because I know someone else who is going through a similar situation.”

Another learner in the group, James also explained: “I felt bad for the prisoner because I wouldn’t like to live a life like them - one moment they were here talking to us about their stories, the next they were going straight back to prison. I will be thinking so much more about who I hang around with.”

Do you know someone who would benefit from the Great Expectations Initiative? Find out more

Do you or someone you know want to get into employment too? Take a look at our apprenticeships to get the right training and experience:

Would yourself or someone you know benefit from the HITZ Rugby Programme? Find out more here