True colours to fore thanks to inmates

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The 1st Gore Scout Group is showing its true colours again – thanks to a group of inmates at Invercargill Prison.

Inmates have made more than 100 scarves for the Scout group, which has been wearing the wrong-coloured scarves since it reopened six years ago.

Scout group president Anne Fotheringham said the group had needed new scarves when it reopened.

“We had four cubs and two leaders and we got scarves made in the wrong colour,” Mrs Fotheringham said.

“We’ve tolerated having the wrong colour for years but now we have finally received our new ones.”

The scarves they had been using were black with gold ribbons, while the new scarves were the group’s registered colours of navy blue with gold ribbons.

The previous scarves were made by a dressmaking parent, Mrs Fotheringham said.

“I think she was pretty relieved the prison boys were doing it,” she said.

The scarves were ordered in March, but there was a waiting list, she said.

“I think first in first served, but now they are here – they are beautiful quality.”

Scout leaders who worked at the prison put the plan into action, Mrs Fotheringham said.

“They came up with the idea and it’s been happening ever since.”

An Invercargill Prison spokesman said making scarves was a great employment and skills development opportunity.

“The prisoners involved are really proud of the work they do on this project,” he said.

Constructive activity .. Prison inmates make scarves for Scout groups. PHOTO: CAROLYN MURGATROYD

Invercargill Prison Corrections Officer Ross Matheson said the programme had been running for about three years and the benefits were clear.

“The prisoners really benefit from it because they are learning to sew. It’s a constructive activity and they enjoy giving back to the community,” Mr Matheson said.

The scouts saved money when they ordered through the prison.

Mr Matheson said the scarves made in the prison were always high quality.

“I think it is because they have no time limit, as well as so much pride – they are their own quality control.

“Once, they didn’t think a batch was up to standard so they unpicked every single one of them.”

Mr Matheson said the inmates produced about 200 scarves a month for Scout groups.

The National Scouts Committee is in discussion about the production of the scarves by inmates New Zealand-wide