HANDMADE bags crafted by inmates from Holloway prison are for sale online, in a joint initiative by a church-run charity, Pecan, and a social enterprise, Prosper 4 Business, set up by a former prisoner.
Pecan was set up by churches in Peckham, south London, in 1989 to work with unemployed adults and young people. Prosper 4 Business was set up by Michael Corrigan, an ex-offender, to help people with convictions to find work and set up small businesses.
The scheme is supported by the seamstress Tessa Evelegh, the author of The Great British Sewing Bee, which accompanied the popular TV series, screened earlier this year. She has designed the range of toiletry and tote bags, and manages their production in prison.
Ms Evelegh said: “The value is not only in the bag, but in the stories that each bag tells about the person who made them.”
Bags have now also been commissioned from workshops in Lowdham Grange Prison, in Nottinghamshire, and similar projects are due to run at HM Prison Downview, in Surrey, and HM Prison Thameside, in Greenwich.
The bags, which were on sale at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace this month, can be bought at www.pecanpi.london.