The Earl Mountbatten Hospice Prison Products Project has been named as the winner of the Most Inventive Hospice Retail Initiative at the first Help for Hospices Hospice Retail Awards.
The award was presented at the Help the Hospices Retail Conference 2013 in Birmingham.
The Isle of Wight is well known for having a large prison population, and until 2012 the interaction of Earl Mountbatten Hospice with HMP Isle of Wight was limited to the occasional referral of patients from the prison. However, an unusual joint enterprise was formed when staff from the hospice were invited on a tour of the prison. They ended up taking a detour into a workshop where concrete garden ornaments were being made and proposed selling the goods through their network of shops across the Isle of Wight.
Since the goods were first introduced in March last year, business has been booming. Sales to date from this joint effort have been exceptional, with a turnover of over 1,000 items including garden ornaments, plants, metal plant stands, wooded planters and bespoke wooden garden benches, bringing Earl Mountbatten Hospice a net profit of over £6,000. There have also been enormous benefits to the prison as well as a new revenue stream, the inmates have been given the opportunity to learn new skills and feel that they have been able to put something back into the community.
Kath Bright, Retail Team Leader at Earl Mountbatten Hospice said: “Collaboration and communication have been key to the success of this project with Earl Mountbatten Hospice keeping the workshop managers up-to-date with positive feedback from our customers. Significantly, the hospice always advertises that the products come from the prison to promote a positive message of our work together which provides a vital link between the local community and prison inmates.”
Photos: Stonework – Earl Mountbatten Hospice | Kath Bright and Cathy Tyler – Help the Hospices