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Thursday, 16 March 2017
Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong receive Butler Trust Award
Photograph: Paul Clarke, Butler Trust

The pioneering work done by Drs Amy Ludlow and Ruth Armstrong with their 'Learning Together' project has been recognised with an Award from the Butler Trust.

Learning Together brings together prisoners, university students and academics, to learn with and from one another. The design and delivery of Learning Together has been informed by criminological and educational theory – what we know about stigma, marginalisation and the role of intergroup contact in reducing prejudice, what we know about desistance (how people rebuild non-offending lives), and what we know about how people can be best supported to engage with and develop through learning. The initiative, which began with Cambridge and HMP Grendon, now includes a number of prisons and universities across the country, and international interest has led to its adoption in Australia.

From a voluntary start to securing funds and significant expansion, the project has won a series of plaudits, coverage and awards, including having Justice Secretary Liz Truss speak recently at the London launch of Learning Together at HMP Brixton. Meanwhile Amy and Ruth are working alongside NOMS to think about how to develop the use of technology in prison education to support partnership working with universities.

These people go the extra mile to support meaningful and positive social change through partnership working. It is a privilege to learn with and from them.Amy Ludlow

The Butler Trust Awards seeks to give credit where it's due to staff, volunteers and partners working in UK prisons, probation, and community and youth justice settings.

Amy and Ruth received their award at the Butler Trust's Annual Award Ceremony which took place at St James's Palace in London on 9 March and was hosted by HRH The Princess Royal.

Responding to the award, Amy said:

We felt very honoured to be nominated for these awards by our students, and even more honoured to have received them. The development and growth of Learning Together would not be possible without our brilliant students, who never cease to surprise and impress us with their talents and hard work. It also would not be possible without our many excellent colleagues - in prisons, particularly Grendon and Whitemoor, at the University of Cambridge and at the increasing number of other universities who are also building Learning Together partnerships. All of these people go the extra mile to support meaningful and positive social change through partnership working. It is a privilege to learn with and from them.

Ruth added:

Our students surprised us with the nomination for this award. We are absolutely delighted to receive it and do so in their honour. We are grateful to the many staff from Cambridge University and the prisons we partner with who have supported us in this work. We look forward to seeing what the future holds as our students go on to put their learning to good use.

In additional to the Butler Trust award, Ruth and Amy were also awarded the Keith Bromley Award for Education & Skills Training by the Bromley Trust.

To learn more about Learning Together, see the project website, and for news updates follow JustisTogether on Twitter.