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Prisoners building eco-homes for communities in the south west

PCC supports prisoner construction project

Prisoners are helping to bring environmentally-friendly ‘eco-pod’ homes to the south west region, in a pioneering new project led by the South West Reoffending Partnership (SWRRP), supported by all five regional Police and Crime Commissioners.

Under the leadership of professional tradespeople at MMC Homebuilding Ltd , prisoners have been learning a range of modern construction skills while also gaining valuable work experience, supporting their rehabilitation in readiness for their release.  

One prisoner commented: “This project is great for getting prisoners used to a day’s work, teamwork, working on your own initiative and also picking up new skills. I’m really confident that when I come out after this sentence I will make a success of my life.” 

“This much-needed opportunity is contributing to reducing reoffending goals that benefit the wider community.

“However, the programme needs support from partners, especially in regards to needing more sites – permeant or meanwhile use – that will allow more projects to be rolled out.

“So, I want to hear from councils, partners and landowners who have meanwhile sites where such a project could take place and where six housing pods could be located for six years. This scheme is quite literally giving people a new start and, by doing so, keeping the community safe.”

PCC Mark Shelford

“I am delighted that Leyhill prisoners are gaining valuable skills to set them up for jobs on the outside, while giving back to the community. 

“Preparing prisoners for the world of work is crucial to cutting reoffending and keeping the public safe.”

HMP Leyhill governor Steve Hodson

The eco pod homes offer much-needed, quality, affordable accommodation for those that need it in the community. The pods are also easy to relocate, built using low carbon methods and offer high energy efficiency to reduce energy bills for the occupants.

“We want to help people who have been in the prison system and make sure they have purpose both in prison and outside. All of our communities across the south west want to see people succeed and contribute positively to society and this is a huge opportunity to help achieve that common goal.  I funded a successful trial in Torquay, Devon, and I am delighted the scheme is now being rolled out on a larger scale.”

PCC for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Chair of the SWRRP Alison Hernandez

Using funding secured from the One Public Estate Programme, a development framework will be implemented across the south west. This framework will help to roll out the scheme and enable other public sector organisations to easily access modular housing providers, develop a pipeline of public-sector sites for housing and identify further prison support methods across the the region to assemble and construct the homes.

Using this approach, the SWRRP partnership has already identified further public land for up to 70 more homes.