An inmate has been offered the chance of a lifetime after The Duchess of Cornwall invited him to decorating Clarence House.
After watching him paint in prison through the workshop Bounce Back, the Duchess extended the invitation to Darren, 41, who is more than excited to “come and meet Charlie”.
Camilla took a tour through the workshop of Bounce Back, a charity that teaches prisoners construction skills at Brixton Prison. Her Highness spoke to different inmates practising the skills they had been taught.
Bounce Back features a large workshop set up with mock rooms, door and windows so inmates may learn how to decorate and paint from scratch so they can gain employment when released.
Darren has completed the course with the charity and is now giving back by mentoring new recruits. He revealed to Camilla just how much he has learnt with the scheme, saying: “She even asked me if I would come and do the palace! I think that was a joke but of course I said yes and that I would come and meet Charlie.”
He added that the course will help him when he leaves prison: “I was a bricklayer before but I didn’t really know anything about decorating.
“Even if I don’t do it as a job I will be able to do up my own place.”
The Duchess of Cornwall also visited The Clink, Brixton’s fully functioning restaurant. She was given a tour of the kitchen and dining room and chatted with a table of regular diners, “Do you come here often?” she asked the group.
Prisoners are employed by the charity at the on-site high-end restaurant that is open to the public. Inmates work a 40-hour week that counts towards a City & Guilds NVQ.
The Duchess watched a chef at work then took time to talk with diners and waiters dressed in matching checked waistcoats.
Bounce Back not only trains inmates on the inside but is a social enterprise employer that works with industry partners to help those find work upon their release.
It also teaches them how to be self-employed, manage benefits and tax.