Football helping prisoners: ‘I watch Match of the Day in my cell religiously’ | Ben Fisher

06 March 2019 10:59
At a prison in Devon professionals from county rivals Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle are participating in an innovative pilot programme putting football at the centre of rehabilitationThere is a fiercely contested drop-ball during a five-a-side kickabout with a difference. Behind the barbed wire and through the giant blue main gate at HMP Exeter, in the gymnasium perched round the back of C wing, where a pair of tracksuit bottoms are drying out of the window of cell 32, a handpicked group of offenders are taking on a team comprising professional footballers from Devon rivals Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle. “Nice and fair,” says Mike Reece, one of five prison officers who specialise in physical education here, as the game restarts.It is the penultimate session of an empowering eight-week pilot programme devised by Jamie Vittles and Mark Lovell, the heads of the Community Trusts at Exeter and Plymouth, respectively, and funded by the EFL Trust Innovation Fund, with £200,000 split across several projects to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. One million people engage with an EFL club community programme every season. Related: The prison where murderers play for Manchester United | David Goldblatt Related: David Hockaday: ‘Cellino used to ring me at midnight, 1am, all sorts' Continue full article

Source: TheGuardian