In June 2014, Give a Book helped to organise the opening of a new Book Room on B Wing in HMP Wormwood Scrubs. The project received an overwhelming response, with generous donations from Quick Reads and Granta. PEN gave a whole World Bookshelf, the Cambridge Literary Festival donated 500 books, a box of books came from The Room sent by Liberty. We were taken aback by how much kindness, imagination and thoughtfulness went into the donations. On top of this, of course, is the glorious ongoing generosity of our own supporters, who have made such a difference.
The help and enthusiasm of Magdalen Evans, Volunteer at The Scrubs, was invaluable. And last, but really of course first, it’s thanks to the staff at the prison especially David Redhouse, Deputy Governor and Michael Sherwood, Custodial Manager for B Wing, whose enthusiasm, enterprise, care and hard work made it possible, from the initiative itself to the door of The Book Room now being open.
Here are some books arriving:
We had this report from the prison just after the Book Room opened:
I went onto B Wing yesterday afternoon and into the Book Room where I found two prisoners staring at all the books slack-jawed with amazement. When one of them got himself back together he said “Guv, this is a most welcome development”. [Honestly !!]
I explained the situation and the generosity of donors and the other said “So we can just take these back to our cell and read them ?” I replied “yes” – cue more amazement.
However the icing on the cake was when one said “So are there any history books ?” and I was able to say “yes, here’s “The Gunpowder Plot” by Antonia Fraser and look it’s got a personal dedication from the author to the B Wing Book Room at Wormwood Scrubs.”!!