Chocolate project gives Stirling women a second chance

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Thanks to a new project, women previously at odds with law enforcement, are now manufacturing luxury chocolates. 

Positive Changes, founded by Joyce Murray, began as a way to help lower the statistics of re-offending female prisoners. 

After Murray volunteered at HMP Cornton Vale Family Hub, she realised there was a need to help women back on their feet by lowering the hurdles they faced finding employment after jail. 

In an interview, Murray revealed that her choice to centre to the program around chocolates was rather simple. “I couldn’t find a beautiful box of handmade chocolates to give as a gift and decided to make my own, and get the women to help,” Murray said. 

Credit: grace

This project enables women to improve their chances of securing a job, by giving them the confidence and networking opportunities. 

Murray said, “We tailor the support to meet their individual needs, offering work experience, qualifications and a range of support from partnership agencies.”

Positive Changes’ range, Grace Chocolates come in several flavours including banoffee and coffee.

An astonishing 19,000 Grace Chocolates truffles were made in just a year, with volunteers from Positive Changes collaborating once a week with women.

As of yet, Positive Changes has managed to put 20 women through a seven-week programme, in which they earned qualifications to add to their resumés.

Angela, one of the women to benefit from the project, said, “it has given me back my self-esteem, self-confidence and has been a great foundation from which to rebuild my life. It has given me belief in myself again.”

Murray reiterated the importance of a scheme like this, saying, “It costs taxpayers £65,000 to put a woman in prison and a further £45,000 each year she remains and that is before taking into account the cost in financial and human terms to the women’s family, children, society and those directly affected by crime.”

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Brig Secretary 2019-2020. Studying Politics BA(Hons).

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