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Music brings families together at HMP Buckley

Colleagues at HMP Buckley took a unique approach to family day, introducing learners to the Gamelan – an Indonesian orchestra. Exploring the music and culture of Indonesia, the day enabled them to create new experiences and shared memories with their families.

Families play a central role in helping with rehabilitation and spending time together before release has been proven to help reduce the chances of reoffending. Resettlement surveys by the Ministry of Justice have shown that ‘the odds of reoffending were 39% higher for learners who had not received visits, compared to those who had’*.

During the day, learners took part in a practical music workshop introducing them to a variety of Gamelan instruments including tuned percussion instruments, gongs, metallophones and drums. It gave them a chance to experience playing traditional Indonesian music as a family whilst improvising and composing a number of different pieces. Learners on the catering course also prepared Indonesian dishes to continue the cultural theme and allow the families to try new types of food.

Commenting about the day, Novus Operational Lead for Families Sarah Hartley said: “The aim of the day was to introduce families to the arts so they could engage in new cultural experiences. As a fully accessible activity, the Gamelan orchestra fitted well with the family dynamics. It enabled our learners to communicate effectively with each other and within their family groups.”

During a feedback session, one family member commented: “We’ve really enjoyed learning about the Gamelan, sharing the time together to bond and learn a new activity.”

*Source: Chris May, Nalini Sharma and Duncan Stewart, Ministry of Justice, 2008

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