Key4Life Kickstart Third Programme at HMP Forest Bank,

May 23, 2023

Key4Life have kickstarted their third programme at HMP Forest Bank, enrolling 24 men who are all pending release and eager for a better future.

Key4Life Mentors

Renowned for pioneering equine therapy and employability training within its innovative seven step model, Key4Life’s reoffending rate is a maximum of 14% compared to a national average of 64%. In addition a minimum of 60% of the charity’s graduates are gainfully employed, versus a national average of 15%.

Programme mentors (pictured above) have been busy recruiting support from local businesses to connect the men to employment opportunities on release. Leading UK companies from the Manchester area, including GLL, MediaCom, Willmott Dixon construction and Restaurant Associates, recently attended a ‘Meet the Employer’ workshop at Forest Bank.

Prisoners previously engaged in the programme said it was the best they had attended since serving time in prison, citing its capacity to instil new behaviours and provide useful employability skills. When asked what they would say to others about the programme, they said, “Just do it!”

Former prisoner, Dylan reflects on his participation in the programme and his hopes for the future.

“I would like to thank the gym staff for giving me the opportunity to take part in the Key4Life course.

“I started the course and was immediately made to feel welcome and given the chance to discuss my situation and business before prison. I was advised that the programme could help me plan for release by putting me in contact with contractors and also assist in applying for funding.

“I had never heard of Key4Life until asked to take part and now I understand why the staff were so persistence in making sure I turned up.

“This is the best opportunity and support I have had since coming to Forest Bank. Everyone involved in delivering the course was understanding and are by your side all the way. I have taken more away from Key4Life in one afternoon than all the other prison programmes with which I had previously engaged.

“I was an insider at Forest Bank, which involved working with other prisoners on the induction wing and I saw so much wasted potential. I think with the support offered by Key4Life, many prisoners would see the opportunity to change their lives and not even think of reoffending.

“This course is exactly what prisoners need to help rehabilitate and I think it should be available to as many of the men as possible.

“Thanks you to the gym staff and everyone involved in running the course, I really appreciate the opportunity.”

Sodexo’s ‘Starting Fresh’ campaign is collaborating with partners including Key4Life to help remove the perceived barriers associated with the employment of prison leavers.

Find out more: Starting Fresh (

Back to the list