Bishop Richard Blackburn visits 'Belief in Change' Programme at HMP Risley

Bishop Richard Blackburn visited HMP Risley to see “The Belief in Change Programme” which is being pioneered there.

Bishop Richard Blackburn, Bishop of Warrington, visited HMP Risley last week to see “The Belief in Change Programme” which is being pioneered there. It is jointly funded by NOMS Co-financing Organisation and the European Social Fund. At the invitation of Lorna Edmondson the Belief in Change Reintegration Manager, Bishop Richard spent a morning with prisoners participating in this intensive 6 month intervention which aims to prepare them for successful community re-integration including obtaining employment on release.

Belief in Change adopts a holistic and faith-informed approach to positive changes in behaviour. Although suitable for most prisoners irrespective of faith or spiritual affiliation or belief, a willingness to explore issues from a faith, spiritual, humanistic/philosophical perspective is requested. The Programme challenges those who volunteer for it to change their thinking and behaviour so that they can develop into people who can make positive contributions to society and desist from offending.

Bishop Richard said “I was immensely impressed by the level of trust that the participants showed in each other that enabled each of them to share their life stories with each other. There was a great deal of openness, mutual support and affirmation of the contributions made in their daily meeting; I was made to feel warmly welcome. I enjoyed the choir so much that I have accepted an invitation to return and hear them perform at the Christmas Carol Service. I am grateful to Governor Jerry Spencer for allowing me to visit and the time he spent with me today.”