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Trust celebrate Twinning Project graduates

QPR in the Community Trust continue to pair up with HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs to help tackle the high reoffending rate as part of the 'Twinning Project’.

Launched in October 2019, the Twinning Project aims to bring together professional football clubs and prisons across the UK to use football as a catalyst to provide real opportunities to better prepare prisoners for release, find employment and reduce reoffending, which is a huge cost to the country and local communities.

The R’s are one of 66 football clubs that have agreed to engage in the Twinning Project and have paired with Wormwood Scrubs, which is just 1.2miles away from Loftus Road.

Through the initiative, the clubs work with PE officers from the Prison Service to deliver an eight-week programme consisting of coaching, stewarding, lifestyle skills and other employability-based qualifications to prisoners. These qualifications will provide a vital route to paid employment which is proven as a key factor in reducing reoffending and helping prisoners to rebuild their lives.

QPR’s youth and communities officer, Pablo Blackwood is delighted that the club can continue to deliver the impactful work achieved over the years In HMP Wormwood Scrubs under the banner of the Twinning Project, which he believes is a great initiative.

Pablo said: “I have specialised in developing, delivering and leading rehabilitative personal development programmes for those in the criminal justice system for many years now and have been invited to share my expertise with senior staff and ministers at the Ministry of Justice in previous years.

“As an organisation we aim to offer wrap-around support for the cohort, supporting through the gate and linking them with other agencies and partners who may be able to help them in their desistance from offending behaviour.

“The Twinning Project, via their passionate staff, has encouraged and shown the value of the work being done by the clubs, not to mention the cost and saving to society. Hopefully more clubs and prisons will sign up. I was privileged to be asked to visit the Prime Minister’s Special Advisors at Downing Street and then host them at HMP Wormwood Scrubs on behalf of the Twinning Project."

Hilton Freund, chief executive at the Twinning Project, commented: “The Twinning Project has worked alongside QPR in the Community Trust, delivering much-needed upskilling and employability opportunities to those serving custodial sentences in both HMP Wormwood Scrubs and HMP Wandsworth.

“The magnificent delivery of Pablo Blackwood, supported by Michael Nyarko, engages disengaged individuals back into learning through the power of football, better preparing them for release. Football can change lives and create opportunity and QPR in the Community Trust are a sterling example of getting this right. It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside them.”

We also spoke to one of the participants on the course, who was quick to praise the impact of QPR’s delivery: “The football sessions have been a great way to step out of our daily regiment as it gives you something to look forward to each week. After the sessions I feel uplifted and energised as it is made clear that there are opportunities available after being released.”

For more information about the Twinning Project, click HERE.