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  • Writer's pictureSing Inside

Launching our 2022-25 strategy

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Sing Inside is proud to launch its first ever three year strategy, which comes into effect on April 1 2022. In this blog, some of our trustees reflect on the process, the areas of the strategy they are most excited about, and the overall direction of Sing Inside over the coming years.

If you have any questions about the strategy, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Claudia Vince - trustee

As we welcome a new Sing Inside strategy, I am more excited than ever to be a trustee of the charity. The strategy will provide new direction and energy amongst the executive team, volunteers and the board of trustees, allowing us all to come together to define the new priorities of the work.

It is important to recognise the unprecedented difficulties imposed by lockdown restrictions in prisons over the last two years, and the team at Sing Inside have worked hard to maintain a sense of community with volunteers and university teams. In a time when most prisoners have been confined to their cells for upwards of 23 hours a day, many prisoners have missed out not only on opportunities to be creative, but more fundamentally to interact with one another and external visitors. Sing Inside recognises the power of music in bringing people together and now more than ever, people in prison will benefit from the opportunity to meet new people, come together, and create music.

The 2022-2025 strategy is timely for this reason – setting the landscape for the growth and development of Sing Inside. In particular, the Ambassador scheme will allow prisoners to have more direct involvement in the everyday running of workshops, ensuring prisoners are part of the planning and delivery process throughout. This will be mutually beneficial, giving both prisoners and the executive team the opportunity to work together and learn from one another. For me, this is the most exciting part of the new strategy, as I believe recruiting Sing Inside Ambassadors will create new momentum in building and maintaining non-judgmental spaces in prisons.

The steps being taken to prioritise being an anti-racist organisation is also of paramount importance for any organisation working in prison spaces. Recognising the structural inequalities not only within the criminal justice system but across wider society is key, along with identifying and acknowledging the various privileges we carry as individuals. This awareness relates to big picture concerns regarding issues throughout society and prison, but also more subtle areas of consideration, such as diversifying the music options used in workshops. This ongoing and consistent reflection is essential and will form an integral part of Sing Inside in the coming years.

As a trustee, I am always in awe of the commitment and dedication of the executive team. The strategy represents this – highlighting the plans for growth and development which will increase the reach, accessibility, and inclusivity of this important work. I am excited and privileged to be part of the board of trustees and I look forward to seeing how the work builds over the coming years.

Aine Jackson, trustee

This strategy reflects the ambition of the board and volunteers in Sing Inside, whilst benefiting from our collective experience and lived experience. The past two years have brought unprecedented challenges for charities and people in prison, and has highlighted even further social disparities. I look forward to us facing these challenges head on, with our belief in the power of group singing at the core. I can’t wait to see more workshops back in prisons in the coming months!

Jonathan Wood – trustee with financial responsibility

The 2022-2025 strategy for Sing Inside aims to build on the strong foundations of the charity's early years, identifying areas where the charity can grow whilst ensuring it does so sustainably. Sustainability encompasses many different areas but for Sing Inside, one of the key priorities over the next three years is financial sustainability. The charity is run entirely by an unpaid executive team, and the increasing demands on them are not sustainable in the long-term if Sing Inside is to continue growing its reach across England and Wales. The strategy aims to increase voluntary and grant income by 50% over the next three years, through a focus on fundraising, publicising its regular giving scheme and through finding creative ways to attract diverse income streams. This will help us to reduce our reliance on any one type of income – and I hope that this objective will help fund Sing Inside's first salaried employees.

Another extremely important aspect of sustainability is calculating and reducing Sing Inside's annual carbon footprint. While Sing Inside endeavours to connect volunteers from local communities and the closest universities to their nearest prisons, sometimes the remote locations of the prisons we work in and a lack of volunteers living nearby results in a reliance on minibuses, rather than public transport. Our strategy has a local focus, and we aim to work more closely with communities living in closer proximity to prisons, as well as maintaining our strong university connections. This will help us to tailor volunteering opportunities to local areas, expand our reach and reduce travel distances and therefore our carbon footprint wherever we can. It will also help us to improve our sustainability through deeper connections into local communities, engaging local people alongside student populations to improve long-term organisational understanding and handover.

There is great ambition from the board and executive team to grow Sing Inside responsibly while continuing to deliver volunteer-led workshops, one of our key features which enables us to build strong connections between people in prison and volunteers. I look forward to seeing the objectives of the strategy unfold.

Nigel Rothband, chair

Having been involved with Sing Inside since it was a student society, it gave me enormous pleasure to spend time developing our first strategy with a full and engaged board. The process was led expertly and it also enabled us to gain clarity on our mission, vision and values. The skills, experience and enthusiasm shown by all involved was inspiring.

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