Building bonds between hospital and prison

IT might have started out as a joke between man and wife but when CGHS food services assistant Linda Munnings told her husband that she wanted some benches for the hospital courtyard, he delivered.

Husband Phil works at Fulham Correctional Centre, where prisoners are undertaking Certificate II studies in Woodwork Furnishings as part of their rehabilitation.

Through an Education in the Workplace scheme prisoners learn how to read and work from plans, use tools, follow measurements, communicate with one another and other skills essential to making them job ready.

Fulham prison is in contact with business owners who are willing to hire someone with a criminal record, finding out what skills they require in an employee, so that prisoners have industry contacts and can find work when they are released.

Fulham’s industry manager Ian Riley said the prisoners responded better to on the job training than they would being inside a classroom.

As part of their training the class of eight prisoners built six picnic tables to CGHS specifications, donating them to the hospital.

“It’s more than just a donation, it’s a link, and a partnership, and it is something that we can be confident that we’re helping a wide range of the community,” Mr Riley said.

CGHS chief executive officer Frank Evans said that the donation saved the hospital thousands of dollars.

He said that CGHS was looking to replace the plastic outdoor furniture which often blew away in the wind.

The timber benches have been so popular with patients, visitors and staff that the hospital has commissioned prisoners to make two more.

´╗┐For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.