De Rode Antraciet vzw brings the outside world to prison by organising sports and cultural activities. This is the core activity of the organisation.
On the one hand De Rode Antraciet vzw focuses on sport. Sport is a universal language. As a physical activity it easily deals with cultural and linguistic differences. Participation to organized sports activities breaks the everyday routine and fulfils the major need for exercise in prisons. Sport as a physical outlet provides relaxation, has a positive influence on health and physical fitness and contributes to the welfare of prisoners and their environment. On top of that, sport is a leverage of social inclusion. It brings people together and gives prisoners the opportunity to be a part of a team or club. It creates a feeling of belonging together and helps prisoners to practice their social and physical skills.
The offer of sporting group activities is wide and reflects trends in society. It includes inside and outside sports such as fitness, fit ball, cross fit, volleyball, football and juggling as well as a fitness initiator course (de Vlaamse Trainersschool), start to run and (pilot) projects on boxing, health and nutrition or exercise on prescription.
On the other hand De Rode Antraciet vzw also focuses on culture, with a conscious emphasis on social-cultural methodology with focus on mankind and society. Encounters and informal learning develop social, cultural and communicative competences. The activities are both based on offer and on demand and are custom made. De Rode Antraciet vzw helps organisations that offer projects and training in the outside world to find their way to the prison population. This causes the outside world to become more accessible to prisoners. De Rode Antraciet vzw also organizes its own cultural activities.
The contemporary offer of cultural group activities reflects what is artistically and creatively going on in society. It includes readings, concerts, plays, film- and cooking evenings, a well-equipped and organized prison library, prison media such as Jail-TV, and Kaffee Détinee where prisoners can talk to free citizens. The social-cultural courses focus on recovery, self-reflection and meaning, aggression control, connectedness and relationships with friends and family.
De Rode Antraciet vzw consequentially strives to offer activities that bring connectedness and empowerment to people. Prisoners can individually start at fit@cel or in the library but this is always a leg up to joining a group activity.
The varied activities of De Rode Antraciet vzw focus on prisoners first. But sometimes the close social environment is also involved, for example family, victims, other prisoners and prison staff.
De Rode Antraciet vzw has ambition to be the face and contact point for sport and culture in every prison in Flanders and Brussels. The organisation claims the role of being in charge of these domains and works continuously to have sport and culture offered in prisons. De Rode Antraciet vzw being responsible for these domains means it has (1) expertise on working in a prison environment, (2) a dynamic and flexible laboratory function, (3) a network inside and outside the prison and (4) a collective vision and mission.
De Rode Antraciet vzw finds expertise in own terrain work as well as in being involved with other existing projects. The organisation is familiar with the current offer of activities, has connections with prisoners and their environment and learns from examples both from home and abroad.
De Rode Antraciet vzw makes sure that service is both dynamic and flexible. The offer of sport and culture is so diverse that the organisation has many opportunities to experiment. The organisation has a laboratory function: for every prison and for the very diverse contexts it looks for and implements an adapted service. It shares its knowledge over the whole field so that insights can be used in multiple projects for the benefit of prisoners and society.
In order to guarantee a sustained activity, De Rode Antraciet vzw is building a network of motivated partners. The relationship with management, staff, prisoners and the wide work field is followed attentively. The goal is a local anchoring with minimal physical presence.
De Rode Antraciet vzw is overarching and guarantees a clear vision, mission and approach, both with respect to content and in practical terms in Flanders and Brussels.