Project information

Grow Social Enterprise

Grow is a horticulture social enterprise. Finding a job when you get out of prison reduces the risk of reoffending by half. We help prisoners improve their chances of getting a job, by giving them work experience ,training & vocational qualifications, then link them with employers on the outside.

October 2015 - December 2020

Charity information: Restore: Live

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  • Need


    Most people are painfully aware of the fact that about 50% of offenders return to prison within two years. Yet for almost all of them, this is never their intention Most want to get a job and keep out of trouble. Having a job has been proven to reduce the risk of reoffending by half, yet in the current climate many people struggle to find work even if they don't have a criminal record. So for someone who has a criminal record, and who has never had a legal job.....would you employ them?!


    Grow helps people in prison improve their employabillity, supports them in looking for work when they are released, mentors them for two years after release and makes it easier for employers to identify suitable candidates for jobs they want to fill. We do this by operating inside prisons, giving people work experience in an environment that is as similar as possible to the outside workplace. Whilst growing and selling food, they gain qualifications and a multitude of transferable skills.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To get 100% of our trainees into full-time employment or education when they leave prison.


    » Provide work-experience for up to 12 at a time in our horticulture enterprise in prison plus a range of external work experience opportunities.
    » Facilitate up to 12 at a time in gaining NVQs in horticulture, business and customer care.
    » Provide mentors who will support each trainee for up to two years after release and who will assist in particular with finding and keeping employment
    » Operate in such a way that trainees develop new ways of thinking and gain transferable skills that can be used in any workplace.

    What success will look like

    We will monitor their progress via their mentors for two years after they are released.

  • Impact


    Our project will help reduce the reoffending rate in the UK by tackling one of the key factors that causes people to return to prison, namely unemployment. Our trainees will have been prepared for the workplace and given important experience. Employers will be able to take advice from us and feel more confident in employing an ex-offender. Success will be defined as 90% of our trainees being employed or in full-time training six months after release.


    The main risk is that the project has to be self-financing and does not receive any money from the prison. We have dealt with this by preparing a detailed budget and crop growing plans and making sure that we will be able to grow and sell enough produce to cover our costs. We are fundraising, through campaigns like this, the start- up costs for each new location.


    Funders can opt to be included in quarterly newsletters, and updates on social media pages are available to all.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 project manager First six months salary for project manager in two locations
      £10,000 equipment Tools, polytunnel covers, rabbit fencing
  • Background


    Our first two projects are going to be at HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey and HMP Thameside in Woolwich. Standford Hill is an open prison that prepares men for release. This means they can be involved in delivering and selling our produce, as well as growing it. Before we can use the site there we need to install some serious rabbit defences and put new covers on the polytunnels!


    The prisoners will benefit from improved chances of finding work. Their partners and children will benefit not only from them earning a wage but also from them being at home rather than returning to prison. Their local community will benefit from them not reoffending. Kent and Woolwich residents get the chance to eat local organic produce!

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 25 years of experience of working with offenders which has contributed to the design of this project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Debbie Goddard

    Debbie is the founder of Grow, which is born out of her experience of working with offenders. She is responsible for taking the project forwards.

    As Yet Unknown Person

    he/she, when employed, will run the project on a daily basis, supervising and training groups of up to 12 prisoners