Paul is a young offender living inside HMP Young Offenders Institute, Swinfen Hall in the West Midlands. In 2006 he was one of the first to complete the prison health trainer training programme.
This is an NHS pilot project that supports the 2004 Choosing Health white paper. It instructs people in the role of personal trainer so that they can go on to support their peers to stop smoking, lose weight and exercise, and to provide them with nutritional information and advice.
The project has two distinct objectives: to support a greater awareness of healthy living in prison and to support people and provide them with opportunities to acquire new skills and experiences. This in turn helps prepare them for their release.
Commenting on the effect the programme has had on his life, Paul said: ‘I have a drive to change; my motivation is high. Working on this programme has taught me that people trust me and that I am a member of society.’
Paul is now working as a personal trainer and has 71 clients in the prison. He also works as a gym orderly, in the library and as a learning mentor.
The prison considers the scheme a success as it supports young men in discovering alternatives and provides those who train with a qualification. It contributes positively to the health and well-being of the community within Swinfen Hall.