Shepton Mallet Prison

Human stories remains a big draw for Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison - one of the UK's most ancient prisons - is proving that demand for its untold human stories and history is not abating. Recently, TV production company Transparent Television spent a week at the prison filming for a major television series for Channel 5, presented by Michael Portillo. Transparent Television's  programme about the prison will dig a little deeper to find untold human stories, and will be aired in the autumn by the major broadcaster. Popular presenter Michael Read more [...]
grow, blosson

Dyslexia – a disability or a unique learning ability?

In a highly personal article written for the Sunday Times, Richard Branson calls for a rethink on how we support dyslexic children in our education system.  Branson recalls his experience of being dyslexic and "dropping out" at 16 with a profound sense of being failed by a rigid, box-ticking education system that he believes treats dyslexia as a disability. Branson - the billionaire entrepreneur -  points out that Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs are all thought to have been dyslexic, Read more [...]
history of britain

Jenni Murray’s A History of Britain in 21 Women and a chance to add our own chapter? Review by Claire de Sully

A History of Britain in 21 Women has been a great companion for me as it demonstrates how, for these women, dogged determination, ambition alongside single mindedness can see you through to fulfilling your purpose in life, no matter how mighty the obstacles are placed before each step you take. For me the power of this book is that it is as much a history of people than solely a female perspective. Often the stories around these extraordinary women involve men: husbands, lovers, fathers, male Read more [...]
VolunteerMakers

The rise of micro-volunteering and a very British volunteer revolution

Digital and social media makes it easy for volunteers to actively engage with their favourite museums, arts organisations and charities, while many more people are prepared to give short bursts of time rather than a longer term commitment to volunteering.  Put the two together (digital and short bursts of volunteering activity) you have the rise of micro-volunteering. Micro-volunteering doesn’t always require digital technology however, see the examples below, but it is an important impetus Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Buy a prison flat – but don’t bring your car.

Shepton Mallet Prison has been lost to a developer's viability plan, denying the town of its rightful share of a windfall heritage asset. It came down to a planning committee, with 8 voting for the proposal and 4 against. We now will have a 400 year old ancient prison of some significance  being transformed into 146 flats, where there are 6 parking spaces for every 5 homes (some of which have 3 bedrooms). This includes visitors and delivery spaces. Most agree this is at least 100 spaces short. Neighbours Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison’s Last Stand

January 2nd 2017 is the deadline for feedback on the latest plans for Shepton Mallet Prison.  The prison was sold in January 2013 in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across six prisons.  A timeline of the prison sale has been published here. Below  is my objection to the latest plans, which I hope will encourage more people to give their voice (for or against) the proposals for the future of Shepton Mallet Prison. Daniel Foster – Planning Officer Planning Application Read more [...]
TreeHouse

After the story ends – a review of Tree House, Strode Theatre Studio, November 16th by Claire de Sully

"After Cathy" - Radio 4's documentary on homelessness - followed a year in the life of three people who find themselves down-at-heel. We hear stories about a primary school teacher, with her two young children, forced into emergency housing, a businessman (who once worked alongside Richard Branson), and a folk-singer struggling with alcoholism. It's easy to be drawn into these real-life encounters, this is audio documentary at its most powerful, words hang as true life stories are spliced together. Read more [...]
Westfield sunset

A Letter to Dad

Dad The stag returned, this time he brought his season’s companion, he looked towards where you lay (during your last days), then startled by us noticing, he turned away, vanishing behind hedgerows. From your window’s view rabbits seemed subdued, munching under-growth. Under clear glass skies, shafts of light cut through resting upon Westfield. “The good man is the friend of all living things”, you were tuned to nature’s beat.  We grew up around your open heart, an owl under your Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

An open letter to City & Country following the rejection of their plans for Shepton Mallet Prison – “please live up to the high standards and integrity you set yourself”

[For background information and a timeline of the prison sale, click here] Dear Tim and Helen, [Tim Sargeant, Owner of City & Country Group, Helen Moore, City & Country MD] Your plans for Shepton Mallet prison (146 homes and only 150 parking spaces) were rejected in part this week in an extraordinary planning board decision that didn’t align with the Council’s own planning officer's recommendations.  The main sticking point was the parking provision and you have put on public Read more [...]

A history of selling an ancient prison in Shepton Mallet

January 2013: Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that Shepton Mallet would be one of seven prisons that would be closed in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across the six prisons. The proposed super prisons would be around 25% bigger than Britain's existing largest facility and a feasibility study into its construction is to begin. The super prisons would be in London, north-west England or north Wales. The prisons that are to close are Bullwood Hall in Essex, Canterbury, Read more [...]

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