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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Prison smokery fights for future

THE man behind one of Haverigg prison’s most distinguished features has said the next 12 months are vital for its future.

The smokery opened at HMP Haverigg in 2008 and despite two successful years, catering manager Brian Schwarzer said the next 12 months will be critical for its future.

Mr Schwarzer said the smokery has managed to establish itself as a top level facility, attracting customers, including Bewley’s of Bootle and Melville Tysons in Broughton.

The smokery has also received high-profile praise from Hairy Biker, Dave Myers.

But as government spending cuts loom large it is vital for the facility to continue its strong performance.

Mr Schwarzer said: “We made a profit last year but we have got to improve on that to show it’s sustainable.”

Martin Jones, who works as a diversity officer at the site, said the facility provides many benefits for both prisoners and the prison but it must be able to demonstrate these.

He said: “There are a lot of benefits to prisoners and the prison. If we can turn round and say we are supplying these people it will help. The smokery does need to be 100 per cent successful.”

The facility boasts a hot and cold smoking unit and as well as manufacturing its own produce, Mr Schwarzer said staff at the facility will smoke anything customers ask them to.

He said: “If it flies, swims, walks or jumps we will have a go at it. We were even asked to smoke some barley by a brewery.”

But despite performing relatively strongly Mr Schwarzer said the smokery has relied on customer comments.

He said: “We do not advertise, everything we do is based on word of mouth.

“We’ve had people turn up at the gates with fish they have caught and all sorts.”

Governor Martin Farquhar said it was not possible to say what would happen in terms of funding for the prison’s facilities.

He said: “It is too early to give an indication of public finance cuts. We are expecting some kind of indication in October.”

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