In October 2017 Grace Chocolates began supporting women with convictions and made their first batch of chocolates in the kitchen of a local parish church.
The company have come a long way since then and now have a dedicated production facility and office space supporting over 35 women each year.
Joyce, the founder, began volunteering at the family Hub centre at HMP Cornton Vale HMP when it opened in 2013.
One evening a week she helped support the family and friends of women in prison as they came to visit. Hearing the stories of the women and their families touched her heart and from a desire to make a difference the idea of supporting the women through the making and selling of “exquisitely wrapped chocolates” had been planted.
When speaking with people who knew a thing or two about the criminal justice system Joyce expected to be told it was a daft idea that would never work. On the contrary: everyone was full of encouragement and support. Some thought she was crazy but helped anyway and less than a year after the first conversation the first Grace Chocolates were produced.
The organisation supports any women who has touched the criminal justice system whether they are working towards parole at the end of their sentence, have been in prison and are now living in the community or those who received non-custodial sentences. It doesn’t matter if it their first offence or they have a history of offences. What matters is that want to make positive changes in their lives.