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Breaking In

By Andy Mouncey, Mar 5 2019 06:41PM

So you think it’s hard breaking out of prison? You want to try breaking in.

This is what it takes for a new social enterprise with One Big Idea to get going in our Justice sector – as lived by Andy Mouncey of Run For Your Life CIC www.runforyourlife.org.uk


Timeline To Date

2012 First invitation to a Category C prison. Project pulled pre-start

2013 First short pilot delivered (unpaid) at a Cat D prison

2014-16 More testing – more pilots – still no ££

2016 RFYL Conception. Doors open–doors close-funding bids/rejected

2017 RFYL Community Interest Company incorporation. Doors open-close/bids (sad face)

2018 Doors open–close/bids etc: Getting boring now. Still no ££

2019: Too far in to give up – so it’s this year or bust!


The Numbers

Funding Bids Written & Rejected: 19

Times I’ve Honestly Thought About Quitting: 4

Times My Wife Has Given Me Permission To Quit: 2


Do The Opposite

Even I have limits – and I reached ‘em shortly after that visit outlined in the previous blog.

That new plan for the ££ bit? Ha! Torpedoed before it even left harbor.

Completely and utterly out of ideas and vulgar Anglo-Saxon phraseology I could only see one solution – well, two actually but truth be told I am wayyyyyyy beyond throwing in the towel now:

‘F**k it. I’m gonna have to do it for free.’


Or to put it in more strategic well-thought-through terminology…If I’ve been singularly unsuccessful so far when chasing the ££ and presenting my case, how about I just STOP and earn the right to receive instead?

I mean, you do believe this sh*t’s gonna work, don’t you Andy?


So it’s money where mouth is / If I don’t commit how can I expect anyone else to? And any other layers of positive spin I care to put on it.

Suddenly, scarily, Nothing is turning into Something – and the Something is this:


At the end of this month I will be at HMP Stafford taking the choice bits of what I’d planned to do over a 12 week program and testing the heck of out them over 3 intensive days.


I will have a project group of 12 men, the PE team and other key members of staff all of whom have taken a leap of faith by knowing enough to be curious and excited about – and nowhere near enough to really know what the hell will happen or what they’ve let themselves in for.

‘That’ I reassured them, ‘is why we do a pilot.’


And that is also totally and utterly the approach I have taken ever since I started working for myself 19 years ago:

Say YES first.

Do it.

Then figure out how to really do it.


So we’re gonna do it – then figure out how to really do it.


I’d said to the governor Ralph Lubkowski that he’d actually only got himself to blame. Ralph and I met early 2018 at a Ministry of Justice event in York for sector providers. Ralph stood up in front of the packed hall and said something along the lines of:

‘We have some challenges at Stafford – and we’re going places – and I need some help from you lot so come and talk to me. But sorry – I have to go!’

And with that he left the hall.

One person shot out of his chair and ambushed him in the corridor. You guessed it…


The rest has been figuring a way to make it happen and earning the right to be followed when I stand up and point.

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