The Media Access Project (MAP) aims to support prisoners in HMP & YOI Grampian to return positively into the community, having used media as a unique development platform to address and overcome a range of issues prior to release.

The project, in partnership with HMP & YOI Grampian, is delivering the first cross-platform media programme within a UK prison. It offers a range of innovative opportunities for engagement in media to SQA level 5 in radio broadcasting and filmmaking as well as a vibrant and relevant course in music production, creative writing and other interests that prisoners may have linked to media.

Once prisoners have a good grasp of the core skills involved, they can choose to participate in a personal development and skills programme leading to on-going volunteering and peer mentoring opportunities in mediums of their choice where they can create work individually or with their peers.

During courses and as part of their own projects, prisoners frequently interview staff or their peers regarding services available in the prison and community. This leads to peer-led take up of services as well as the opportunity for agencies and service providers to engage more effectively with prisoners via the radio channel, or via powerpoint information on the prison cable network.

Pre-release, relationships built with MAP staff are broadened out and developed between participants and key service providers such as Housing and Job Centre Plus, in order to enhance supported and sustained positive destinations post release.

In addition to on-going support from the MAP and other key services post-release, support is provided to participants so they can continue to volunteer in media-based and other activities within the community linked to Shmu’s extensive community media programmes in Aberdeen’s regeneration areas.

MAP Outcomes           

The three main outcomes are:-

  1. Improved motivation, self-confidence and skills for participants in order to address their offending behaviour.
  2. Increased engagement of participants with appropriate support services pre and post release
  3. An increased number of participants reducing their risks of re-offending and securing positive destinations (volunteering, employment, training or education).

Aims of MAP


The primary benefit is to reduce risks of re-offending by offering participants -

  • positive life changes
  • increased empowerment and engagement
  • improved communication opportunities
  • increased inclusion in and ownership of service delivery
  • improved relationships
  • increased influence over decisions about engaging with services

With the added value of

  • enhanced service inputs
  • tailored service interventions
  • improved engagement with prisoners
  • improved prisoner/staff relationships
  • peer led encouragement for programme take up
  • realistic, relevant and meaningful mentoring
  • dissemination of examples of success
  • HMP & YOI Grampian seen as a centre of excellence

Key Personnel

MAP Co-ordinator: Gary Dawson

The MAP Co-ordinator works both within HMP & YOI Grampian and across the communities of Aberdeen, leading a multi-disciplinary staff team which uses community media as a key tool for transformational change through the delivery of a sustainable, coordinated and person-centred approach for prisoners, with the aim of reducing their re-offending rates.

The Co-ordinator also works alongside the MAP Project Board and MAP Project Management Group in order to develop, implement and coordinate all aspects of the project. The Co-ordinator has the key role of evaluating the effectiveness of the project, managing the MAP staff team, management and maintenance of financial oversight, and ensuring effective reporting and communication mechanisms are established and maintained.


MAP Media Development Worker (HMP & YOI Grampian): Kevin Warrander(Tev)

The MAP Development Worker is based in the Creative Media Unit in HMP & YOI Grampian. Their role is to develop and deliver a variety of media based programmes alongside the assigned SPS Creative Media Unit Activities Officers and shmu tutors. The Development Worker oversees the accreditation of qualifications for participants and is responsible for gathering all monitoring and evaluation materials within the prison. The Development Worker also develops and maintains effective partnership relationships with a range of stakeholders within the prison and represents the project at the MAP Project Management Group and SPS Case Management Board meetings when required.


MAP Community Integration Development Worker: Kirsteen Snadden

The MAP Community Development Worker provides a coordinated throughcare support package to all participants taking part in MAP’s Community Integration Support Service. The Development Worker will complete an asset based screening process with each participant in order to identify areas of support and to create a personalised support plan. The Support Worker, along with the participant, works on this support plan, ensuring appropriate services are accessed pre and post release. The Development Worker attends prison based reviews and conferences and have regular contact with participants. Post release, the Development Worker provides continued individualised support in the community, whilst linking participants in with wider support services and media opportunities within shmu.

The MAP Community Integration Development Worker also works alongside the MAP Coordinator and Media Development Worker in developing and evaluating the project.


MAP Media Support Worker: Reegan Bonar

The Map Media Support Worker is based in the Creative Media Unit in HMP and YOI Grampian. Their role is to provide learning and other support to a range of prisoners who are currently enrolled within MAP media courses as well as supporting the general work of the project.


Activities Officer Creative Media Unit (HMP and YOI Grampian)

The Activities Officer within the Creative Media Unit assists the MAP Media Development Worker in developing and delivering the different media programmes on offer to participants who attend this space. The Activities Officer is the first point of contact between MAP and the prison, providing a link to other prison staff and the wider prison population. The Activities Officer also provides an essential prison staff presence during media sessions. 


Description of Work

Station House Media Unit (shmu) were awarded a grant from The Big Lottery to run The Media Access Project (MAP) – a five year initiative in partnership with HMP and YOI Grampian to deliver the first cross-platform media programme within a UK prison.

The ethos of the project is to use media as a unique development platform to address and overcome a range of issues prior to release in order for participants to return positively into the community.   

MAP offers a range of innovative opportunities for engagement in magazine production, creating and broadcasting prison based radio programmes, writing and recording their own music and film making. Participants can gain certified qualifications up to SQA Level 5 through MAP, as well as developing core skills such as team work, communication, IT, planning, literacy and numeracy. MAP also aims to increase participant’s motivation and self-confidence looking to the future through an integrated throughcare support package.

MAP aims to reduce reoffending rates and increase the potential of prisoners returning to positive destinations upon release. MAP provides prisoners with a unique set of skills and encourages them to utilise these skills to help them into employment, further education or training. MAP also encourages prisoners to continue creating media in the community, feeding their experiences back into the prison and highlighting the benefits and value of taking part in the project to their peers.