Penny Smith hears how joining a choir could help rehabilitate offenders

Penny Smith hears of how joining a choir could help to rehabilitate offenders

The team behind Choirs Beating Time popped by the studio for a chat with Penny Smith

Monday, March 20, 2017

Of all the criminal rehabilitation programmes and techniques out there, joining a choir might seem rather unusual.

But Penny Smith has been hearing how singing in a group might actually contribute to keeping offenders on the straight and narrow

Heather Phillips and Jane Evans are the core of Choirs Beating Time, a charity which aims to prevent people from returning to prison. 

It does this by providing employability skills, maintaining offenders' mental health, and giving them a sense of community through participation in a choir. 

The duo swung by the studio to chat to Penny Smith about their work. 

Heather explained how it came about: "I'd set up an organisation to get people singing at work. 

"It all got a bit busy and frantic and I needed some help. Jane had just chucked her job in, so I asked her if she fancied giving me a hand. 

"Then we thought it would reasonate far better in prisons."

Jane said: "At the moment, we work in four prisons. 

"We go in weekly for choir sessions, open to all - prisoners and staff. We invite prospective employers to sit in on the sessions and join in. 

"It brings a real community spirit and everyone gets on."

Listen above.