Home > News > HMP Highdown and HMP Downview face Palace for Life staff in football match for Twinning Project graduation

HMP Highdown and HMP Downview face Palace for Life staff in football match for Twinning Project graduation

Our Route to Employment team has been delivering the Twinning Project in HMP Highdown and HMP Downview based in Sutton this past year. Recently, participants from the programme finished the course and played a match against Palace for Life staff to mark the occasion.

The Twinning Project is a partnership between HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and football clubs with the objective of twinning every prison in England and Wales with a local professional football club.

The aim is to engage approximately 48 prisoners per year in each of the 117 prisons in England and Wales in football-based programmes to improve their mental and physical health, and well-being, whilst working towards a qualification which will help improve their life chances and gain employment on release.

Palace for Life partnered with the Twinning Project back in 2020 and since then has been running a football-based programme, aimed to develop the participants’ employability skills, and gain a Leading in Football qualification, which often leads to an FA Level 1 in Coaching, once First Aid and Safeguarding modules are completed.

The Palace for Life team has been working in HMP Highdown and Downview a men’s and women’s prison and young offender’s institution respectively. Coaches, Pat, Kaine, Angelica and Debbie have been visiting both prisons for the duration of the programme and have played a huge part in the development of the participants.

Kaine Senkumba, who is a Targeted Intervention Youth Worker at Palace for Life and had been visiting the prisons each week, said:

“For me, The Twinning Project is a safe, impactful space that allows individuals to be themselves and learn how skills gained from football are fully transferable and can allow people to view the world in a different light, and have an open perceptive on the world for the lover and development of football.

I feel the project will have a huge impact on the life of the men and ladies on the course and will hopefully open their eyes to a better future.”

To mark the participants’ graduation, both HMP Highdown and Downview played in a football match against Palace for Life staff after receiving their graduation certificates.

The morning match was a defeat for Palace as Highdown edged a narrow 2-1 win, and the afternoon game was a 6-6 thriller, decided by a nerve-wracking penalty shootout, where Downview were victorious.

Farhad Olaleye, Relationship Lead at The Twinning Project said:

“The two cohorts at HMP Downview and HMP Highdown were a success. Both women and women have been equipped with an accredited FA qualification, which will better opportunities upon release. The focus now turns to supporting those post-release. I would to thank all at Palace for Life, in particular the coaches, Pat Gordon, Kaine Senkumba and Debbie Worrell for the delivery throughout the duration of the course. I look forward to continuing our work in 2023.”

For more information on our Route to Employment projects, please head here.

For more information about The Twinning Project, please head here.

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