Wates helps ex-offenders express themselves

Those working in Liverpool's property industry gathered to support the rehabilitation of ex-offenders in Merseyside at a reception hosted by Wates Construction.

Representatives from the city's architecture, engineering and construction sectors were given a tour of an exhibition of artwork produced by offenders, secure hospital patients, young people from children's homes and individuals on probation at the Contemporary Urban Centre in the Baltic Triangle area of the city centre.

The work has taken place for the past two years and aims to reduce re-offending in the North West.

The Koestler Exhibition for the North West has support from The Co-operative and is run by the Koestler Trust.

The Wates family have worked closely with the charity for over 20 years in order to assist its efforts to use participation in the arts as an outlet for expression and emotion amongst those within the penal and secure sectors.

Arts by Offenders is a collection of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and creative writing that drew to a close at the end of March.

John Shannon, business unit director of Wates Construction in the North West, said: "The construction industry has the potential to play a huge part in the rehabilitation of ex-offenders, whether through training and work experience or sustainable employment. This exhibition gave us a real opportunity to promote exactly why this is so important amongst our peers, colleagues and clients in Merseyside and encourage them to offer their support. The Wates family has been working with the Koestler Trust for many years so it was wonderful to see the inspirational work they carry out being brought into Liverpool; it reinforces our company ambitions of providing safe and secure communities for the areas in which we work."

Tim Robertson, chief executive of the Koestler Trust, added: "It might seem strange for a prison arts charity to share the same values as a major construction group like Wates, but we do – the same commitment to creativity and excellence, balanced with fairness and social justice. It's a pleasure and a privilege to work with them and we're extremely grateful for their support."

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