Back in December I wrote a post entitled ‘An Idea Whose Time Has Come‘. I had begun planning a project which I hope will make a difference to many prisoners and now I can tell you what this is.
As you may be aware, last month my family and I set up an online petition to defend prison arts from the Ministry of Justice changes that puts them in jeopardy. But although I can set this up, the fact that I am a serving prisoner means that I cannot sign it myself. I therefore wanted to do something that bucks against the restrictions I am subject to, and to actually make a difference myself.
For that reason I am pleased to announce that, on the 9th of April, I will be setting out on a sponsored trip around the world. You may wonder how this will be possible for a prisoner. Well, my plan is this. I will be laying out a route through all of the interesting places, both in this country and further afield, that I would love to see but, because of my situation, I cannot visit. Then I will follow that route virtually, using the treadmill, the exercise bike and the rowing machine in the prison gym to run, ride, and row around the country and then around the world. And along the way, I will be keeping a diary of my travels on this blog, writing about each of my virtual stopping places, and updating my progress.
Most of the places I visit will be places that I have picked out from books available through the prison library. But I will also be taking suggestions. So, if you have any ideas for interesting places that I should stop off at during my virtual journey, please let me know by emailing me or writing to me by snail mail at the address on the right.
As for sponsorship, this is where I hope to make a difference to the prison arts situation. In the new ‘Virtual Nomad’ section of this site you will find a link detailing how to sponsor me and to donate to my chosen charity. This charity is ‘Not Shut Up’. Not Shut Up is an organisation which publishes a magazine of prisoner’s artwork and writing, including both poetry and prose and has launched several arts initiatives working with the ‘unfree’. They started exclusively in London prisons but now work with a number of people in prisons around the country. They were initially funded by Arts Council England and have received funds from a number of third party charities and benefactors, but they are also a registered charity in their own right and they work extremely hard to enable prisoners in their pursuit of the arts.
By following my virtual journey, and sponsoring me through the link in my ‘Virtual Nomad’ section, you can help me to make a difference to this charity. Not Shut Up need all the support they can get so that they themselves can support the prisoners who need it most.
So why not follow my travels? Suggest places I could visit. Sponsor my journey. Come along with me. Help me make a difference.