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Podcast channel for prison leavers receives £500,000 National Lottery grant to show there’s Life After Prison

“There’s no rule book or guide when you get out of prison, so it’s massive for people to be able to relate to one another and know that there are people out there in a similar situation.” 

A popular podcast series that supports former prisoners to adapt to life outside of prison has received almost £500,000 in National Lottery funding.

The Prison Radio Association has been awarded the grant by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, to continue its Life After Prison podcast series, which provides advice and guidance to former and current prisoners, as they look to build positive, crime-free lives after release from prison. 

Life After Prison also provides information and guidance to the family members and loved ones of people in prison, and others affected by the criminal justice system.

Presented by two former prisoners, Zak Addae-Kodua and Jules Rowan, Life After Prison features practical advice and signposting to support services to help with housing, addiction, employment, mental health and finance among other topics. It also features interviews with guests, who talk candidly about the challenges they and their families have faced during and following their release.

Jules Rowan and Zak Addae-Kodua

Zak and Jules struggled following their release - Jules found it difficult to relate to others and felt unable to open up about her experiences, while Zak faced suspicion when trying to navigate employment.

With both now in a much better place, they are keen to share their experiences and show others that there is life after prison.

Jules said: “There’s no rule book or guide when you get out of prison, so it’s massive for people to be able to relate to one another and know that there are people out there in a similar situation. It’s important that these topics aren’t viewed as weird and scary, and that there are safe spaces like this to come to.”

Thanks to the funding, there are plans to expand the scope of the podcast content already in the works, as well as plans to grow the team’s social media and production teams.

Tim Colman, Director of Development at The Prison Radio Association, said: “Leaving prison can be the start of a complicated and confusing period in someone’s life. Most prison leavers have to navigate a range of appointments and requirements, find employment in difficult circumstances, and rebuild family relationships. The odds can be massively stacked against them, which is why it is no surprise that more than half of all prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less go on to reoffend. 

“Life After Prison is there to support people through this maze and help them find the inspiration and support to build a positive life for themselves in the community. Our aim is to increase our listeners’ confidence to seek support.”

News that the funding will allow the podcast to continue will be welcomed by its dedicated followers, of which there are nearly 25,000 across Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, with the content listened to and viewed over four million times so far.

The podcasts have not only helped former prisoners, but have provided valuable insights to professionals working alongside them as part of their rehabilitation.

One listener who works as a social worker said: “I work with young people who are either currently in prison or at risk of going to prison. These podcasts share so much knowledge and understanding that I can pass on to them. I have also learned a lot myself about how these experiences can impact people and ways to support them after custody.”

Life After Prison can be accessed via Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify and YouTube. It is also available via National Prison Radio, and as on-demand content via the Digital Content Hub, which is available in 15 UK prisons. Life After Prison content is also accessible in bit-size chunks via social media: InstagramTikTok and Twitter

Zak said: “Thank you so much to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players. Without you, we wouldn’t be reaching hundreds of thousands of people who are trying to build positive lives after prison.”

Emma Corrigan, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The Prison Radio Association is doing amazing work to support former prisoners in their rehabilitation journey, so they can once again become part of their community. 

“Our ambition is to take an equity-based approach to our work, investing most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. I’m delighted our funding is being used in this way to help prison leavers reintegrate, improving their lives and strengthening society.” 

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund was able to distribute over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities. 

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