Both HMP Altcourse and HMP Walton have been twinned with the LFC Foundation as part of the ‘Twinning Project’; a programme backed by the Government and the UK’s leading football bodies, including the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, PFA, PGMOL and LMA.
A total of 32 UK clubs, including Liverpool FC, have agreed to be part of the programme, which will use football as a catalyst for change to provide real opportunities and better prepare prisoners for release, find employment and reduce reoffending, which is a massive cost to the country and local communities.
During the project’s first year, LFC Foundation expects to engage with over 50 offenders aged 18-25; delivering the nationally recognised Sports Leadership award, as well as classroom-based sessions in partnership with the prison education team.
Gemma Smith, Senior Project Manager at LFC Foundation, said: “The Sports Leadership course teaches communication, leadership and management skills, which are transferable to different career paths and are invaluable to anyone, including offenders; who will have improved employability prospects which reduces the likelihood of them reoffending.
Currently in the UK, the reoffending rate for adults is 63.8% and juveniles reoffend at a rate of 41.6% in the twelve months after release. Evidence has shown that reoffending rates are greatly reduced when prisoners secure employment following release from prison, and so the provision of qualifications and professional skills will have a significant impact.
Director at HM Prison Altcourse, Steve Williams, said: "Fostering links between the community and the prison is a real focus for us at Altcourse, whether that be through work, education or physical activity.
"By partnering with Liverpool FC, as part of the Twinning project, we are able to offer the men a real opportunity to learn and develop new skills as well as improve confidence in their own abilities. This will go some way to breaking the vicious cycle of re-offending."
David Dein MBE, former Vice Chairman of Arsenal Football Club and the Football Association and founder of the Twinning Project, commented, “Since its launch, the Twinning Project has seen huge interest and enthusiasm from across the UK football family and Prison Service. We have also had interest from international clubs and prisons, as well as other sporting organisations, who wish to replicate what we are doing. It is testament to the vision and purpose of the Twinning Project that such a large group of football clubs have agreed to participate in trying to tackle a difficult problem in our society. We are in active talks with many other clubs and look forward to welcoming them to the Twinning Project as we roll out as widely as possible across football and the Prison Service.”
“Among the first  clubs, a number of their Community Departments are already doing great work with their local prisons while others will be starting for the first time. Together as part of the Twinning Project, we will build on this momentum, bring structure and help to use football as a force for good that will deliver real change for people and communities across the UK.”
For more information about the Twinning Project, visit: www.twinningproject.co.uk or visit the LFC Foundation’s website to learn about the variety of sports and employability programmes available: https://foundation.liverpoolfc.com/programmes#sports-and-health