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  • Writer's pictureSing Inside

International Women's Day at HMP Bronzefield

Updated: Jun 3

In March 2024, Sing Inside partnered with The Forward Trust at HMP Bronzefield to work with a group of women recovering from drug misuse. The day culminated in a performance by the women and Sing Inside volunteers at the certificate presentation ceremony marking the achievements made by those engaging with the Forward Trust services. Mo Farrell from The Forward Trust has kindly written a piece for us about the day and the impact both their work and the work of Sing Inside has within the prison environment.

Women in prison are some of the most marginalised people in our society, but at the Forward Trust, we believe everyone deserves the opportunity and support they need to build better lives for themselves.

Many of the women who engage in our substance misuse services while in prison, may not see themselves as the strong, resilient women that they are. So to mark International Women’s Day, we hosted an event at HMP Bronzefield to celebrate the strength and determination of the women who are engaging with our services and taking steps to make positive changes in their lives. This was a day to build up the women, give them a chance to celebrate how far they’ve come, and show them what’s possible.

Working with Sing Inside, a group of around 20 women participated in a singing workshop in the morning, selecting and rehearsing the songs they would perform in the afternoon at a concert that also included the presentation of certificates to mark the various stages of treatment and recovery the women have attained through engaging with Forward’s services.

The afternoon kicked off with a version of ‘True Colours’ by Cyndi Lauper and the strong women energy kept going with rousing and rowdy renditions of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’, and ‘I Will Survive’, by Gloria Gaynor, with an audience of invited women and guests singing along, clapping and generally enjoying some time to let loose (as much as is possible in a prison environment) and celebrate themselves and the other women who are taking a similar path as them.

Forward Trust’s Julie Muir came along to share her own inspirational story about how, with support from Forward, she was able to break the cycle of crime and addiction and turn her life around to eventually becoming the Director of Recovery Support at Forward. Julie was followed by an emotional and uplifting share from a woman who was due to be released from prison just eight days later. She’s on her path to recovery and was looking forward to getting out, staying on track, and having a better life for herself and her family.

The day culminated in certificates to celebrate the various steps and stages the women have taken or achieved towards their own recovery goals.

Events like this don’t just offer people in prison a break from the norm and a bit of excitement, they help with confidence building, self-esteem, and mental health, all areas we focus on when we work with people on their recovery, and at Forward Trust we’re look forward to working with Sing Inside again to bring the joy of song to more of our in-prison clients.

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