Our café 16 initiative provides an opportunity to develop new skills, attitudes, and ultimately a new way of living for ex-offenders. Over the previous year, we have operated a prisoner-staffed Café in HMP Northumberland. The team benefits from hands-on experience, mentoring, and support, as well as training and qualifications in catering, baking, cleaning, and front-of-house operations.
As the next step in this initiative, the Oswin project has partnered with Newcastle Cathedral to establish a second Café 16 in the Cathedral, which opened in August 2021. Following the Café 16 model, Café 16 in the Cathedral is managed by the Oswin project and provides training, mentoring, and employment to a team consisting exclusively of prison leavers. The Café is supplied by Café 16 in HMP Northumberland’s bakery, increasing production demand and so the number of prisoners we are able to employ at this site. These Cafés form the blueprint for a wider rollout of the initiative, with plans for 2 other Café 16 sites already under discussion.