Keepmoat manager scoops High Sheriff Award
Mark Burley, Regional Social Value and Partnerships Manager at top 10 homebuilder Keepmoat, has been recognised for his work to help build a brighter future for prisoners at HMP Hull.
The High Sheriff Award, officially presented by the High Sheriff for the East Riding of Yorkshire, Jacky Bowes, was bestowed after community champion Mark set up a scheme to support prisoners at HMP Hull, offering them opportunities to engage in activities which benefit communities, enhance their employability and work skills, and in turn have a positive impact on their self esteem.
The scheme, coordinated by Keepmoat, in partnership with Hull City Council and Hull Citywide Consortium, aims to reduce site waste by providing old pallets to be upcycled into planters so prisoners can grow food for the local community.
Mark was the driving force behind the scheme, the first of its kind in the area, and his innovative approach was noted by the High Sheriff. On receipt of the award, Mark said: “It’s an honour that my community work has been recognised with such a prestigious accolade. Supporting local communities and people’s employability skills is a key part of my role at Keepmoat and with the Citywide Partnership.
“The project is life changing for prisoners and aims to boost their confidence and employability when they’re looking to re-enter the jobs market, especially in the construction industry. It also provides them with a sense of achievement when they see local people receiving the planters they make.”
Following involvement from the prisoners, the planters are donated to EMS, a local charity in Hull that works with residents, community groups and local businesses to alleviate food and fuel poverty. The charity sets up community vegetable gardens that aim to promote a healthy lifestyle, allowing residents and families without a garden or allotment to grow their own produce.
Thomas Leech, Industries Manager at HMP Hull, added: “At HMP Hull, we’re committed to providing prisoners with meaningful employment opportunities whilst in custody, along with relevant skills and training that they will be able to use on release.
“Prisoners are learning new skills and working hard to produce planters from items that would have essentially gone to landfill. These planters are then given to people in the local community that have earned them through community credits doing things such as litter picking in the local area. The fact that prisoners are giving something back to the community creates a sense of pride and a real sense of purpose.”