Cell Workout was made in prison, created as a way to stay fit and healthy during the long hours locked in a cell. We now deliver fitness workshops to people in prison across the UK which are proven to provide real physical and mental benefits to those who participate. These workshops are delivered by former prisoners and show that when you give prisoners a chance, good things can be MADE IN HMP.
With your help we now want to launch our MADE IN HMP brand to promote Cell Workout and raise funds to deliver more fitness workshops for people in prison. The MADE IN HMP brand will ultimately consist of a range of health and fitness related products but initially your pledge will enable Cell Workout to start by producing MADE IN HMP t-shirts for men and women, working with prisoners in HMPs Downview and Featherstone, who are also students of the London College of Fashion.
Our project will:
- Launch Cell Workout’s MADE IN HMP brand.
- Generate profits from t-shirt sales to support our workshop delivery promoting health and well-being in prison.
- Provide work to the prisoners who produce our t-shirts enabling them to develop their skills.
- Generating publicity to support workshops and interest in our work, helping to spread the word.
- Provide women in HMP Downview and in HMP Eastwood Park with tracksuits made for them. This will improve their morale and ability to keep fit
Cell Workout started as an idea from cell A2-21 in HMP Pentonville. LJ Flanders created a workout during his prison sentence as a way to stay healthy and maintain mental wellbeing during long hours locked in a cell. LJ developed his notes into a book which he self-published five years ago (now published by Hodder & Stoughton). It is this experience and his subsequent personal training in the community that have given him the knowledge, expertise and motivation to want to help prisoners develop a healthier lifestyle, whilst also providing mentoring and employment opportunities.
LJ has now developed a rehabilitation programme, delivering motivational workshops to men, women and young offender institutions across the prison estate, to encourage self-improvement, reduce re-offending and increase ex-prisoner employment. LJ now works with a team of 20 ex-prisoners and people working within the prison system to help towards rehabilitation.
Cell Workout believes in turning negatives into positives, and that good things can be MADE IN HMP. LJ has recently been appointed as fitness ambassador for the New Futures Network and works closely with other organisations, including as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and Forward Trust. LJ strives to bring about positive change in the lives of those who are in the same situation that he was once in.
Cell Workout runs two week motivational workshops in prisons to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of prisoners. These workshops enable participants to set health goals which they work towards during the 2 week programme and beyond. Each workshop includes a family day to promote family engagement in health education. The workshops encourage purposeful activity and gym outreach on the prison wings, so creating impact beyond the immediate beneficiaries.
Prisoners are a group known to experience poorer health than the general population outside the prison gate. Cell Workout aims to support the rehabilitation of prisoners by improving their physical and mental health and well-being through prison based fitness workshops. We also engage prison staff and prisoner families, and ultimately aim to offer opportunities for some prisoners to build their workout experience with Cell Workout in the community on release.
To encourage prisons to participate in these 2 week workshops and to generate interest, we also deliver one day taster workshops to help prisoners and prison staff. In 2019 alone we worked with 38 prisons.
Cell Workout works with a team of 20 former prisoners who help to deliver our workshops in prison and in the community, and promote the Cell Workout message at community events. They also feature in Cell Workout’s monthly column in the prison newspaper Inside Time. This provides an important route for former prisoners into work, and provides a platform for them to promote their own initiatives.
One of the key aims of our business plan for 2019–2022 is to diversify and build our income in a sustainable way. At Cell Workout we have a vision of developing a MADE IN HMP brand which ultimately will include a Cell Workout gym in the community, a fitness app and range of cookery/diet books. Initially we want to produce a sustainable range of MADE IN HMP athleisure wear (t-shirts, vests and tracksuits) produced by skilled prisoners in England and using only British materials.
To launch this range, we want to produce Cell Workout MADE IN HMP t-shirts. We tested the potential of the t-shirts by using a generic, low cost manufacturer in the community to produce them for all workshop participants and have had increasing requests from people wanting to buy them (encouraged by Tom Hardy wearing his own Cell Workout vest!).
In producing our t-shirts, we want nothing but the best quality whilst also staying close to our prison roots. The Cell Workout MADE IN HMP t-shirts will be hand made by prisoners who reside at HMP Downview and who are also students of the London College of Fashion. Working with prisoners to produce our MADE IN HMP clothes echoes Cell Workout’s belief that great things can be MADE IN HMP, and reflects our desire to help rehabilitation by teaching new skills to provide better job opportunities. We want to send a clear message of what this t-shirt represents – new beginnings, second chances, and rehabilitation.
The initial project is to produce the first print run of Cell Workout MADE IN HMP t-shirts for sale. If we exceed our target, we will commission a second print run. As production grows, income generated by selling the t-shirts will mean we can deliver more prison workshops, improve the health and well-being of more people in prison and ‘through the gate’, and make sure more positive change is MADE IN HMP.
The Forward Trust have agreed to match funds raised up to £5,000. Every contribution means a lot to us, so if you can spare even just £10 towards our project we would be extremely grateful for your pledge.