Five Years of MAP

An end to a trailblazing project - and the start to Cashback

After five incredible years of the Media Access Project (MAP) in HMP Grampian, it's time to say goodbye to this trailblazing project, celebrate its success and impact, and look to the future.

Over the last five years, MAP has worked with over 600 prisoners. The project has had a profound impact on the prisoners by offering qualifications, skills development, creative freedom and pre/post-release support. The establishment as a whole has also benefitted from the project through adding a vital communication tool, place of prisoner employment and providing meaningful activity for many difficult-to-engage prisoners.

We have delivered around 2500 media sessions of radio, film, music and magazine production as well as specialised sessions for female and protection prisoners and advanced project sessions which have contributed to around 7222 hours of pre-release volunteering.

We have supported prisoners in gaining 79 full level 5 SQAs and 45 partial level 5 SQAs. Our participants have won 32 Koestler awards over the 5 years, while the Creative Media Unit won HMP Grampian its first ever platinum award in last year's competition. Another 18 pieces are being submitted this year and many of them are also expected to receive awards.

We have supported prisoners to produce around 1454 hours of radio to be broadcast on the prison radio station 'Con Air'. We have created 48 films - some which have been used in national campaigns by SPS and NHS. We have supported prisoners to create music videos to accompany some of the 823 original songs produced. 5 'Way Out' magazine issues have been produced, with 3000 copies being printed and distributed around the prison.

Prisoners consistently reported feeling more confident while taking part in sessions; with an average confidence increase of 20% throughout a prisoner's engagement in the Creative Media Unit. Over lifetime of the project, we have supported 159 prisoners pre-release, with 143 going on to engage in the community.

We have recorded that 84% of clients who have been involved with the project have not been reconvicted. Fifty-seven clients have also participated in meaningful volunteering activities at shmu, while 11 have moved on to further education, 29 into employment and 48 took part in formal training.

So, what's next?

Shmu is committed to continuing its work within HMP Grampian and we are delighted to announce that we have been successful in receiving funding from the Scottish Government's CashBack programme to create pre-release skills and personal development programme for under 25s.  This will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to build on all the good practice developed over the last 5 years, while continuing to support young people in HMP Grampian to move forward positively in their lives both pre and post-release.

Unfortunately, this project if on hold at the moment due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, but will start as soon as restrictions allow us to get back into the prison.

For the latest updates on these projects, please see our news section.