Inmates to help save museum scheme

PRISONERS from a Suffolk jail have been drafted in to save a museum project to create a series of river and woodland walks.Work to create two nature trails through the Museum of East Anglian Life grounds in Stowmarket, building bridges and walkways, appeared to be in jeopardy after volunteer placements from the New Deal and Welfare to Work initiative were cut.

PRISONERS from a Suffolk jail have been drafted in to save a museum project to create a series of river and woodland walks.

Work to create two nature trails through the Museum of East Anglian Life grounds in Stowmarket, building bridges and walkways, appeared to be in jeopardy after volunteer placements from the New Deal and Welfare to Work initiative were cut.

But museum director Tony Butler has been approached by Hollesley Bay open prison, near Woodbridge, and he has agreed to take inmates at the end of their sentences to work at the museum, which is popular with visitors and school parties.

Mr Butler said: "It is for those at the end of their sentences who want to help improve the museum site. We are only taking people who are a low risk, and there will be no sex offenders because Hollesley Bay does not have them, and we would not let them out on this site anyway.


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"We have also said we will take no-one who has been serving time for violent crime. They are working away from the public and we already have two people on site and they are working really hard and are a great asset.

"We hope being here will help in their rehabilitation process and feel that you should give people a chance in life."

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The project to create the nature trails will open up areas on the 70-acre site the public have never been able to get to before.

Mr Butler said: "We are creating two trails, along Rattlesden River and a woodland trail through a patch of ancient woodland.

"Bridges are being built and walkways, and this is a really worthwhile project. They are making a very, very good job of the project.''

Kevin Smith, who works within the resettlement and community work department at HMP Hollesley Bay at Woodbridge, approached the museum.

He said that Hollesley Bay runs a resettlement unit and has a number of adult inmates who could help out at the museum, and learn new skills from this project.

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