Electricity distributor receives award for its voluntary work with Suffolk prison

HMP Highpoint Prison, off the A143 near Stradishall.
HMP Highpoint Prison, off the A143 near Stradishall.
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Staff at an electricity distributor have been recognised by a prison for their work in helping to reduce risk of offending upon release.

UK Power Networks was presented with Highpoint Prison’s People Award, a new honour that recognises exceptional work a partner organisation has done to help point former offenders towards a better path in life.

The electrical company, which was recently named Utility of the Year, has long worked with the prison, in Stradishall.

Its efforts have included hosting workshops to encourage local employers to give former offenders a second chance as well as supplying a mini digger and Transit van to help train prisoners for practical trades.

Training centre supervisor Gaye Goddard, who has been involved in all the projects, said: “I can honestly say I love the work I do at Highpoint. It is so rewarding. We were very surprised to receive the award and very honoured too.

“We put a lot of time and effort into the voluntary work so it is nice to be recognised in this way.

“It also shows the great relationship we have developed with prison staff and inmates alike.”

She regularly visits the prison in a mentor role to help offenders write their CVs, chat to them about prospects and offer job interview tips.

She and colleagues have also been instrumental in setting up a ‘business scorecard’ which has helped the prison develop a five-year action plan to structure how they will further engage with community partners.

Lisa Haworth, business and community engagement manager at Highpoint, said: “UK Power Networks first visited Highpoint in 2011 at the first employer engagement events in partnership with Business in the Community.

“Jason Carmichael, head of technical training, and Gaye Goddard have been ever present since that meeting and their input and support of our work has been invaluable.

“Their support is very tangible and has been very much appreciated.

“This type of skills training is vital to help reducing reoffending, and for prisoners to find sustained employment on release.

“This is a new award we have created and it is very fitting that UK Power Networks are the first recipient.”