The Twinning Project launches today to help reduce reoffending

Initiative to twin all UK football clubs and prisons to provide real opportunities to help prisoners prepare for release, find employment and reduce reoffending

The Project will be open to all prisoners, including men, women and young offenders

Backed by UK Government as part of nationwide efforts to reduce reoffending rates

Endorsed across the football community including the FA, Premier League, English Football League, PFA, PGMOL and LMA

London, 31 October 2018 – The Twinning Project aims to bring together professional football clubs and prisons across the UK to tackle the high reoffending rate by using football as a catalyst for change to provide real opportunities to better prepare prisoners for release, find employment and reduce reoffending which is a huge cost to the country and local communities.

The Twinning Project launches today at the Wembley Suite at Wembley Stadium. The event will be hosted by former England and Arsenal legend Ian Wright and will include presentations from David Dein who has given talks in 106 prisons to date and Jason Swettenham from HMPPS, and Rory Stewart OBE MP Prisons Minister. Over 400 guests are expected to attend including representatives from all sections of the football community, HM Prisons and the Government.

The Project is backed by the Government and the UK’s leading football bodies, including the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, PFA, PGMOL and LMA. The Project will enable football clubs, supported by PE officers from the Prison Service, to deliver coaching, refereeing and other employability-based qualifications to prisoners to better prepare them for release and vitally to provide a route to paid employment which is proven as a key factor in reducing reoffending and helping prisoners to rebuild their lives.

Change is needed as the current trends for prisoners are challenging with limited prospect of new resources being made available due to ongoing fiscal constraints:

  • Currently in the UK adults reoffend at a rate of 63.8% and juveniles reoffend at a rate of 41.6% in the twelve months after release

  • Only 17% of offenders enter the workplace upon release, leading to a high reoffending rate. Lack of paid employment on release is the #1 issue driving reoffending  

  • The average yearly cost per prisoner in the UK is £35,371 comparable to the annual cost of sending a child to a leading British public school.


The Twinning Project has been driven by David Dein, former Vice Chairman of Arsenal Football Club and the Football Association, who has worked in close collaboration with Jason Swettenham, HM Prison & Probation Service, to bring the project to life. The scheme will pair Premier League and EFL football clubs with their local prisons to engage with prisoners and offer them more routes to employability. The scheme will be open to all prisoners, including men, women and young offenders.

Building on significant initial interest having spoken to all the key football bodies in advance, the Twinning Project aims to sign up 20 Premier League and EFL clubs by the end of 2018 and grow from there. Today’s launch is an invitation to all of the UK’s professional clubs to join and support the Twinning Project.

David Dein, former Vice Chairman of Arsenal Football Club and the Football Association and founder of the Twinning Project, commented: “Football can be a powerful force for good, and the Twinning Project will use this to help people change their lives when they are released from prison.

“There is already great work being done in prisons across the country aimed at reducing reoffending and this initiative will build on that using football. We are delighted to have the support of the Government and the whole of the UK football community. We believe the Twinning Project will make a real difference to people and communities across the country.”

Rory Stewart OBE FRSL FRSGS MP, Prisons Minister, said: “I am delighted to support this fantastic programme and want to thank David Dein, the football community and the prison staff who have worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition.

“The Twinning Project will build on the good work already happening at some clubs to help prisoners develop connections within their communities, grow their confidence and boost their employment prospects.

“We should embrace sport as a way ​of giving offenders worthwhile skills and qualifications and I am confident this project will have a real impact on the lives of offenders - and ultimately help to reduce reoffending.”

Martin Glenn, Chief Executive of the Football Association, said: “The FA believes that football is For All and this fantastic initiative will showcase the very best of football and its capacity to inspire. We look forward to playing our part.”

Richard Scudamore, Premier League Executive Chairman, said: “Premier League clubs have an excellent track record of delivering for communities through sports participation and social inclusion programmes. Many of them operate projects in conjunction with their local prison, using football and the power and popularity of their club to inspire people to improve their lives.

“David Dein has taken a huge personal interest in this work and has visited more than 100 of the country’s prisons to talk about the Premier League and his own experiences in the game. I applaud him for his commitment and for bringing clubs and the Ministry of Justice together in this important area.”