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The Oswin Project: The café that changes lives

Olympic Gold Medallist and TV presenter Sam Quek interviews Newcastle-based charity for the new season of the National Lottery’s Amazing Starts Here Podcast.

In the latest episode of Amazing Starts Here, Sam Quek meets the inspirational Fiona Sample, leading mind behind Cafe 16. She also chats with some of those who worked at the café to understand the complexity behind why people end up in prison, the challenges they face when they get out, and hears how the project provides practical skills and a thorough support system for long-term change.

Fiona Sample, Founder and CEO of the Oswin Project said: “Without purpose, things can unravel. People who have been in prison are most vulnerable when they leave and they're not quite sure what to expect when they go outside. But through work, through a structure to their lives, they begin to settle back. And it’s so important, not only for the individual but for their families and communities. We want to keep communities safe, and we want to reduce reoffending, and this is a proven way of doing it.”

Since 2012, The Oswin Project has believed in the power of second chances and has helped those with criminal records obtain jobs through employment programs, mentoring, training and support across the Northeast.

With the help of £125,000 worth of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, they opened Café 16 in Newcastle Cathedral, and its impact is truly life changing. Far from an ordinary café, it provides an opportunity for prisoners to gain hands on experience, as well as training and qualifications in catering, food hygiene and baking, all contributing to reducing reoffending and helping them make different choices.

Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the UK every week, which in turn helps charities like The Oswin Project continue to carry out incredible work in their communities.

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