Gardening success at HMP Hatfield

With many summer events cancelled POA Learning recall happier times when members running a POA Learning Centre entered prison produced veg in the local show – and came away with a bumper crop of awards.

Thyme Served

The POA Learning Centre in Doncaster is based alongside HMP Hatfield, an open prison where adult prisoners can be placed into resettlement employment. As part of the resettlement regime, the establishment has gardens where a range of vegetables, fruits and plants are grown and sold in the farm shop “Thyme Served” which is adjacent to the Learning Centre.

Staff at the POA Learning centre support prisoners with their resettlement, offering sessions to help look for employment, accommodation and transport ready for release as well as helping to promote the work done within the establishment.

Thyme Served alongside craft items made in the prison workshops offer a wide range of locally home-grown fruit, vegetables and plants that are all nurtured across the site. Centre Manager Paul Cliffe decided to enhance their profile by taking some of the vegetables to the local Auckley Show and enter them into the respective competitions in the main tent.

Under the banner of “Community Gardens”, he entered Spring Onions, Garlic, Marrow, Cucamelons and Chilli Peppers into the competition, he fought off some tough competitors in the judging and was delighted to return with six awards, a third, three seconds and two first prizes. After the event, all the entries were auctioned off for charity.

The event itself was a success – 133 different categories in the various competitions all well represented, and Paul’s haul of rosettes certainly put HMP Hatfield on the map.

Delighted with his success, Paul said

I thought I would enter some items to show what the prison can do and the quality of the produce they grow.”

He was surprised at how successful he had been,

I never expected to come away with so many rosettes, there are people showing at this event that have been entering for many years, so to come away with best in class is testament to the hard work the lads put in back at the prison.”

Chris George, Business Engagement Manager at HMP Hatfield, is the man who is the driving force behind Thyme Served said

Paul’s participation in the Auckley flower show on behalf of HMP Hatfield’s farm shop, Thyme Served was certainly a great way to further enhance our profile in the community and once again, this shows great partnership working between the establishment and POA Learning.”

Such was Paul’s success, we’re looking to enter other shows in the future and of course, Paul himself has a title to defend at Auckley! “

This is another way that POA Learning support the local communities and prisons showing their commitment to the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners.

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