Leyhill prisoners helping build new M5 service station

Gazette Series: The Cotswold dry stone wall that prisoners from HM Prison Leyhill are helping build (3081187) The Cotswold dry stone wall that prisoners from HM Prison Leyhill are helping build (3081187)

THE NEW Gloucester service station on the M5 is receiving help from prisoners at HM Prison Leyhill.

Construction of Gloucester Services is well under way with one of the main focal features, a 1000m sq piece of Cotswold dry stone walling, being put together with help from two inmates from the local prison.

Around 450 tons of the stone was purchased from the Tinkers Barn Quarry in Barton to make the wall, which the prisoners are putting together with the help of experienced stonemasons from Alderwood Construction.

The open prison runs a number of courses which the Dry Stone Walling Association endorses, where prisoners can opt to take part in and receive a qualification on completion that can quite help open doors to a new career.

The two prisoners have been directly employed by Buckingham Group Contracting Limited who are building the new services and will be working on the site until March 2014 as part of a team of eight men.

Currently the two men are assisting in building a traditional dry stone wall, 60 metres long, around the oak tree leading into the main car park.

Gloucester Services which is expected to open in June, will be the UK’s first and only motorway services to provide a share of site sales to the Gloucester Gateway Trust, a charity which is committed to distributing £10million over 20 years into local community projects.

Trust manager Mark Gale said: “We have been working with Leyhill Prison to provide opportunities for prisoners who are preparing for their release from the open prison.

“The stonemason work gives the prisoners an ideal opportunity to refine their skills, show a potential employer their quality of work and get some current work experience to go on their CV.”

The services between junction 11a and 12 northbound on the M5 is a £40 million project and will employ 300 people, with an additional 200 people employed during the construction process.

Gloucester Services is expected to open in June, 2014.

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