Skip to main content

Inside out

Roots and Routes

What is Inside Out?

HMP Bullingdon is working together with the Nature Effect CIC to introduce nature rich outdoor spaces for greater mental and physical wellbeing for prisoners, by:

1.Creating Chardon’s Garden to reduce drug dependency,  increase purposeful activity, reduce reoffending  and support better mental health. The Charndon Wing promotes incentivized Substance Free Living, and the garden will provide new opportunities for prisoners to learn skills to use after release.  It will also facilitate a therapeutic environment for wider prison community benefit.

2. Creating resources which will connect prisoners on their release from prison to opportunities for volunteering and work in outdoor environmental projects.  It will also offer them information about places to spend leisure time with their families in community green spaces around Oxfordshire, extending the interest in gardens and environment beyond the gates and their time inside.

3.Working with partners such PACT charity to develop a garden for families in the visitor centre at Bullingdon  and to create a resource for families linking them with local greenspace projects in the Thames Valley area, promoting the support of both community connections and spending time in nature to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing.

A shared vision and aims

  • Bullingdon prison want so create greater opportunities for incentivized substance free living and increase opportunities for prisoners to learn new skills and be engaged in purposeful activities during their stay, reducing the chances of re-offending and giving more opportunities to connect to community organisations and employment options on release.  There is an opportunity to create nature rich environment outside the CharndonWing which will also benefit the wider prison community.
  • PACT wants to transform it’s current bare greenspace outside the visitor centre into a relaxing and playful environment for families with children visiting young ones, whilst also encouraging parents to think about ways to enjoy nature closer to home.
  • The Nature Effect is a community interest company with skills and experience in designing nature rich spaces which also engage people, enhance wellbeing and encourage interest in learning about plants, animals and our connection to  and interrelationship with the natural environment.

The Charndon Garden

The courtyard outside the Charndon wing (which has a focus on incentivised substance free living) is to be reimagined to provide:

  • a natural, immersive environment for the prisoner community to have private and communal spaces with outdoor purposeful activity and calming spaces for wellbeing.
  • increased biodiversity with habitats using meadows in sunny areas and woodland planting in the shady zones.
  • Screening and seating with therapeutic planting.
  • Beds for growing herbs, vegetables and a space for keeping chickens.

The Visitors Garden and Connecting to Communities

The social, health and economic impact of having a member of  the family in prison are well documented.

PACT has identified the need to transform the grass area outside the prison visitors ‘hub into a garden for use by visiting families.

  • Keir construction company have undertaken to do fund/construct the development of the garden. The Nature Effect team will work with PACT staff and visitors to develop a plan that is mindful of family services and the needs of the community that will be using the space so that they can feel welcomed and can explore and relax in the outside area.
  • The nature led design is to be inclusive and suitable for young children and older children and their families giving them a safe and nurturing environment for the time that they are onsite. The space will be playful and relaxing with things to do – games, sandpit, pathways, growing beds.
  • The planting will connect people to nature – and create a sense of wellbeing and The Nature Effect team can create resources and provide information to families on how to make best use of their local community greenspaces for health and wellbeing.

Creating the gardens – design, build, benefit

  • The Charndon garden will provide a new resource, supporting staff to extend the incentivized substance free living programme and will be used across the prison community supporting patients with complex health needs or those who are most at risk of self harm.
  • The NaturEscape garden design will connect prisoners to natural environments with benefits for health, well being, learning. Developing a relationship with natural natural landscape and caring for plants and animals will spark new interest and give important ‘headspace’ in an otherwise closed and often stressful environment.
  • The integrated design will enable the men in the Charndon wing, where possible, be a part of the process of the designing and building the garden and in long terms stewardship of the space.
  • Additional benefits to acquire new skills to use after release and in new situations both for volunteering and employment.