Festival “Towards a sustainable healthy prison”

27th September 2023

Festival “Towards a sustainable healthy prison”


Runforever organised a festival event on the 27th of September 2023 to celebrate the first eight months of the running club at HMP Grampian and open conversation “Towards a sustainable healthy prison”. The event included a 5k run followed by a party held at the Media Unit of the prison where runners, invited guests (from RGU), members of prison staff and of organisations helping with the project (IFF, Shmu, Familiesoutside) gathered for sharing about the running club and participate to the photovoice exhibition.

So far, the project involved 70 offenders, 10 prison staff, 3 partner organisations (IFF, Shmu, Familiesoutside), Fife College and RGU – Robert Gordon University. It delivered weekly running sessions in 34 Wednesdays, two sessions (morning and afternoon) for a total of 68 running sessions between Wednesday 8th February to Wednesday 27th September. We did 7 Runningstories radio shows, organized fun runs and 5k races inside and outside the prison. Runforever received a publication on Jogscotland magazine  and we co-created ways for valuing the process from the inside (Runningstories and Photovoice). We also opened the conversation around health and wellbeing with some events. The first one was a “finisher” event on the 7th of June and a festival “Towards a sustainable healthy prison” on the 27th of September.

Thanks to the project at HMP Grampian (prison), Paolo Maccagno has been shortlisted as best jog leader of the year at the Jogscotland Awards 2023.

We aimed at combining conventional forms of evaluation with other ways of valuing the process from the inside. Inspired by the notion of warm data by Nora Bateson, Runningstories and Photovoice are ways for inventing value in the learning and setting up a path into an unknown territory where values emerge on the way and are co-shaped by organisations, institutions and people.

The running club made a significant impact on the lives of the people involved leading to improved health, resilience, confidence and sense of self (individual and social). In fact it worked as a microcosm where prisoners could be together in a dignified and supportive environment, providing the context in which the traumatic experiences that have contributed to offending could be reframed.

The project is interesting not only in terms of the health benefit for prisoners but for the awareness it raises about walls and separations. Its value goes beyond being a compassionate project towards a symbolic political action about raising awareness about walls and the world we live in.


All are keen for the work to continue in the next months or years.