HMP Exeter Team take time out

In a rare chance to meet outside of the prison as a team staff from HMP Exeter spent some time together for a team building day on Exeter Quay. One of the team shares their experience of the day.

On Wednesday something of June we took a trip to the  Waterfront restaurant on Exeter Quay to enjoy a pizza buffet lunch followed by an ice cream extravaganza!

This was enjoyed by all and the atmosphere was happy and chilled. We had a section of the restaurant to ourselves which quickly became filled with chatting and laughter.

Personally, I enjoyed sitting with people that I don’t have much interaction with at work, the day flies by so quickly and you don’t see some colleagues for almost the whole day.

After our relaxing lunch we went out into the blistering sun to board our canoes in pairs or teams of 3. We had picked names out of a hat to decide who was going to be in which canoe.

Climbing into the canoe was an event in itself for me as I felt that I was going to fall straight out the other side!! After 5 mins and assistance from at least 4 people I was settled neatly in my seat with my canoe buddy Dan!

A short discussion was had to determine our speed, snack breaks and which side we would be paddling on and off we went.

Some of the team were of course very competitive, I shall name and shame – Emma H, Katie M, Trev V, Leanne R, Tina T and Jamie H and some of the team had no sense of direction – Kensa H and Sophie A who frequently ended up in the hedgerow (they claimed they were looking at the blackberries!!).

I could easily observe all the other team members as Dan and I had decided to paddle at a leisurely pace and so were at the very back. This suited us well until we got tired and had lost sight of everyone else and so questioned whether we should turn back or continue with the journey. It was at this point that Dan decided to “sat nav” the journey and discovered that we only had a few more minutes left to go. We went full steam and in no time were greeted by the rest of the team cheering us on (I think they were just grateful that we had actually arrived and we could now all go and relax in the pub garden)!!

At the double locks pub we sunbathed on the grass and played rounders, this brought back memories from school for most of us and it was good to hear people sharing those stories. A wide range of skill was revealed that afternoon with the rounder’s ball often ending up in the river!

We paddled back to the Quay trying our best to avoid the groups of teenagers that were stood on the bridge above preparing to jump in and soak us.

The journey back appeared to be much quicker so there was plenty of time to return to the Waterfront to enjoy a post work drink together to laugh about the day’s events.

One of the team said:

“It felt like a whole day out since we rediscovered rounders in between an enjoyable canoe paddle up and down Exeter Canal. Played with energy, good banter, and team support which is how we all are in work, so it was successful too”

Also one of the team wrote this poem:

HMP Exeter Team BuildingPizza and Ice cream,
a bright sunny day.
Down to the river for our away day.

The pizza was hot,
The ice cream was cold.
Then into canoes with a paddle to hold.

With life jackets
to keep us afloat.
Just in case you fell out the boat.

We set out as one
But started to race,
as those in front increased their pace.

We all arrived safely
and laid on the banks.
To not be paddling, we gave our thanks.

Some cold drinks,
a sit in the shade.
To replenish ourselves as we started to fade.

Then we played rounders,
And sat in the sun.
for a work day this was fun.

Just as we felt
our bonds growing,
it was back to the canoes for more rowing.

We returned to the Quay
with the sun still high
for big team hugs before saying goodbye.

We all acknowledged
and agree
a special thanks to EDP

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