Opportunity grant 3/3
Beating Time

Beating Time

Prisons and Young Offender Institutions are among the most challenging environments within which charities can operate. Prisoners often spend long hours locked up in their cells with little meaningful activity to engage them. 50% of prisoners experience mental health problems, and rates of self-harm and suicide are at an all-time high. Nearly a third of prisoners have had experience of the care system as children.  Almost half go on to reoffend after their sentence; this number is even higher for those serving sentences shorter than three months.

Beating Time work inside prisons across England to improve prisoners’ lives through the gentle power of singing. The charity sets up a choir inside each of their partner prisons, offering weekly rehearsals and regular family days and performances. These choirs are fun, inclusive environments which give prisoners a focus for their time and a way to express themselves. Prisoners are encouraged not only to sing but to write their own songs, revealing hidden talents and offering a creative outlet for their emotions. Having engaged prisoners through these choirs, Beating Time works with them to improve their mental health and self-confidence. They provide a dedicated programme called UpStart, teaching entrepreneurial and personal development skills and offering coaching and mentoring for prisoners interested in starting their own businesses. After prisoners are released, the programme continues to offer support. The charity also runs an in-prison recruitment consultancy called Inside Job, connecting prisoners to potential employers. Both of these programmes offer ex-offenders a path towards secure employment, reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

In July 2020, the Swire Charitable Trust awarded Beating Time a grant of £60,000 over three years towards their work at HMYOI Brinsford, a Young Offenders’ Institute, reducing social exclusion and improving mental health among vulnerable young offenders.

Amount awarded:£60,000
Date awarded:July 2020
Length of award:36 months