HRH The Prince of Wales goes behind bars at Parc Prison
HRH met a group of young people taking part in the charity’s Get Started with Football programme, which aims to give young people the skills, confidence and motivation they need to move into work, education or training after their release from prison. Since 2010, The Prince’s Trust has run twelve courses at Parc, supporting more than 150 young people.
The Prince toured the prison gardens and sports area before meeting young people on the course run in partnership with Cardiff City FC Community and Education Foundation and the Premier League. HRH heard from one young man who had taken part in the course when facing a five-year sentence for drugs offences. Toby Guest, 27, is now employed by Cardiff City FC to deliver the course and help other young people prepare for life after prison.
Toby was reserved and withdrawn in prison but his attitude changed during the course and he was praised by prison officers as a shining example to offenders of what can be achieved by using their time constructively.
Toby said: “I made mistakes in the past but the course helped me to gain a sense in belief that I could restart my life in a positive light. Before that, I was unmotivated, and I’d lost all my confidence. The programme and the support I received helped me to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am extremely grateful to the Prince’s staff at Cardiff City for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a fresh start.”
G4S Director for HMP Parc, Janet Wallsgrove, said: “Our work with The Prince’s Trust plays an important part in our efforts to help offenders to turn away from crime. The Get Started with Football course has a tangible impact on young offenders and their communities by helping prisoners to build the skills, knowledge and motivation to succeed when they leave custody and return to society.”
Young people case study – Parc Prison
Toby Guest, 27, from Cardiff
Faced with a five-year custodial sentence for drugs offences in 2012, Toby Guest felt lost. He became reserved and withdrawn in prison, and as time went on, he stopped believing in himself. Knowing that he had previously played football for Bristol City, Toby’s prison officer suggested he join the Get Started with Football programme.
Toby’s entire attitude changed – his confidence began to return and he started engaging with as many opportunities as he could to help improve his chances of finding work upon his release. His turnaround was praised by his prison officers and he was applauded as a shining example to offenders of what can be achieved by using your time constructively.
He said, “I made mistakes in the past but the course helped me to gain a sense in belief that I could restart my life in a positive light. Before that, I was unmotivated, and I’d lost all my confidence. The programme and the support I received helped me to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am extremely grateful to the staff at Cardiff City for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a fresh start.”
Toby was later transferred to an open prison and volunteered with Cardiff City F.C. for six months. His professional work ethic led to paid employment at the club, where he is now working as a full time tutor and coach on Get Started courses. In 2014, Toby won the HSBC Breakthrough Award at The Prince’s Trust’s Celebrate Success awards. He has also enrolled on a Foundation Degree with South Wales University.
He added, “I know how beneficial then programme can be and I tell the inmates my story to inspire them that if they apply themselves, they can secure employment upon their release. Things are going really, really well for me now and I am determined to help other young people get back on the right track.”