HMIP Chief Inspector Visits West Mercia

23rd January 2013

Liz Calderbank, Chief Inspector from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation, visited a snowy West Mercia this week.  She called in at Willowdene Farm, Shropshire, to learn more about our partnership work and met with Senior Managers at our Head Office in Kidderminster.


Matt Home, Director, showed Liz around the facilities at Willowdene where offenders complete the Specified Activity - Care Farm Skills Training Programme.  The aim of the programme is to get offenders 'work ready'.  It offers a range of learning opportunities including mechanics, animal welfare, forestry operations and welding.  It is for 25 days, each consisting of seven hours, spread over a fourteen week period.  By the end of the programme offenders should achieve at least two qualifications.


Liz had the opportunity to chat to a student who had completed the Specified Activity and was now on the Residential Intervention Programme.  This programme provides a six week residential placement at the farm for individuals who have completed day placements there but have been identified as needing extra help to ensure a long lasting change to their lives.


Liz said, "Despite the snow somewhat curtailing my visit, I spent an extremely interesting afternoon in West Mercia and am extremely grateful to all those who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with me". 


"Having heard much about Willowdene, I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit the farm and be taken round the workshops by Matt.  Given that so much is being talked about the commissioning of services to offenders at the moment, it was very heartening to see such a partnership between the voluntary sector and a Probation Trust in action, one based essentially on shared objectives and a joint commitment to rehabilitation, and that clearly made sound business sense to both partners".


"My visit concluded with a discussion with the Trust's Senior Managers, looking at some of the challenges facing the probation service at the current time.  Much food for thought and many thanks to David Chantler and the Trust for hosting the visit".




Keywords: Willowdene,Specified Activity,