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A taste of success for prison officer
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
A HIGH-QUALITY training restaurant in jail and cheap business units for young people are just two projects set up by prison officer Kate Quigley-Ruby in her spare time.
The tireless 51-year-old works 70 hours a week, mainly with inmates and ex-offenders, to ensure they do not go on to commit more crime.
Her passion and energy has seen her nominated for an Our Heroes award, established by this newspaper to highlight the achievements of South Londoners.
Kate said: “I probably work about 70 hours a week, with my day job and voluntary work combined.
“I do it because I’m passionate that any one of us could be a victim of crime in some way or other, unless we mobilise the community to get involved in rehabilitating those people who will come out and behave just as badly.
“I can say this with experience because I work with them inside.”
Kate’s job with the National Offenders Management Service sees her working closely with the prison service and probation service to resettle inmates on their release from jail.
Two years ago and in her free time, Kate – who splits her time between Streatham and Scotland – set up The Clink, a restaurant offering work experience to people doing time in High Down prison, Sutton.
Kate raised £350,000 in a year to set it up and it was the focus of a BBC documentary series in April.
Young people are given training in cooking high-quality food and a chance to meet top restaurateurs, who often recruit chefs after visiting for a meal. Outside of jail and nearer to home, she launched Change Up in St Anselm’s Church Hall, Kennington Road, Kennington, providing low-cost business premises for mainly young people and ex-offenders.
She said: “Some of the businesses have been set up by ex-offenders. “They have been running successful businesses for the past year, in tailoring, fashion, PR and digital media.
“I raise the money by just writing to people and applying for grants.
“Because of The Clink and other stuff I’ve done within prisons, a lot of charities trust their money will be well spent and I will get things done.”
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Monday, 20 May 2013
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