Bridging the Gap in HMYOI Polmont

Young women from the Young Offenders Institute were funded through the YoYP 2018 Create fund, to run a ‘Bridging the Gap’ event to bring inmates of all ages together in HMYOI Polmont.

Read the interview below from one of the young women (anonymous) on why she wanted to get involved.

What is your project is about?
“Bridging the Gap” is between the young offenders and older prisoners to work well together and to show that we have talents and a lot to offer; that we aren’t stupid little girls. We decided to have a dinner event where we would cook from scratch for 15 people offering a starter, main and dessert.”

Where did the idea come from?
“The older generation prisoners weren’t mixing with us, so we wanted to change that through working together on an event. We also wanted to challenge ourselves and do something a bit different, prove to everyone how capable we are but also that we are willing to learn from older prisoners too. We really don’t want there to be a divide, so we are passionate about the project to bring some change to Polmont.”

What change do you want your project to achieve?
“We want to be respected more and to not have women refuse to attend education classes because we are taking them. We are already seeing a change in this with more mixed ages in class. We wanted to learn new skills and have more confidence in ourselves too, to know we are equal and can offer a lot in this prison if given the chance.”

What challenges did you come up against as a team?
“We really enjoyed the planning and prepping stage but we hadn’t realised the amount of work it took to serve it all up. Timing everything on the day of the event was a challenge but we got there. We wanted it to be a sit-down meal and chat over dinner but we were a bit nervous and felt awkward as it was a new experience for some of us.”

What new skills have you learned?
“We have learned lots about planning ahead, making decisions, budgeting, cooking, setting a table, how to be assertive, work as a team and on our own, designing, creating invites etc. We didn’t realise how many skills we learned and used until our feedback session after the event.”

What stereotypes do you think young people have to deal with?
“I think young people have to deal with a lot of different stereotypes like being thugs, binge drinkers/ drug takers, lazy, education drop outs, and thieves. I think we aren’t taken seriously or respected and don’t get a lot of opportunities as it’s seen as being risky.”

What change would you like to see as a result of this project?
“We want to be respected more and to know we are equal and can offer a lot in this prison, if given the chance.”

More info

Create18 funds young people to run events on topics or issues they are passionate about. It’s run by Young Scot and EventScotland. Check out the latest youth-led events happening across the country, check out Young Scot.