St Martin's Challenge



A philosophy graduate, Jose Aguiar is a teacher training lecturer and educational consultant who has worked in prison education, teaching and developing educational projects for the last 13 years.  He is a passionate and untiring advocate of education in prison. In 2018, he received an Inspirational Educator Award by The Worshipful Company of Educators.


At HMP Pentonville, a Category B male prison with 1200 prisoners, Jose has established a range of programmes and events.  He is a distance learning co-ordinator for PET. In 2016 alone he encouraged and supported 48 prisoners to be awarded funding for PET distance learning courses, despite the constraints of prison regimes.




St Martin's Award for Prison Support

Aim: to recognise the positive contribution a former prisoner who is actively giving back to society.

Recipient: Paula Harriott

Award: Cheque for £250 and St Martin’s Medal


Paula Harriott is Head of Prisoner Involvement at Prison Reform Trust (PRT). She leads on integrating prisoner voice and experience into the work of PRT, influencing policy, design, delivery and evaluation of services that affect those in the criminal justice system and seeks to ensure that all policy and advocacy positions and recommendations from PRT are informed by lived experience insights. She leads the Prisoner Policy Network. She is a Trustee of the Community Chaplaincy Association. She was previously Head of Involvement at Revolving Doors Agency 2015-2107, Head of Programmes at User Voice 2010-2015. Her current passion for working with excluded members of the community on a diverse range of issues stems from personal experiences as a prisoner 2004-2012 and she promotes the values of lived expertise throughout the social justice sector; linking inclusion in design, delivery and workforce to issues of power privilege and control.

Since 2012, EdmissionUK have supported various students with travel bursaries enabling them to attend academic conferences closely related to their studies. In addition, we have also financially supported professionals and organisations working in the fields of literature, visual and performing arts. See this link for more details.


For 2018, we decided to focus on the outstanding and often unrecognised work of individuals within our prisons and criminal justice system, calling them our St Martin’s Awards (see this link to St Martin’s Challenge). We are extremely grateful for the support and generosity of many of our supporters, clients and friends that have made these awards, and all of Lewis Owens’ ‘St Martin’s Challenge 2018’, possible. Thanks to this support, over £13,000 has been raised for The Myosotis Trust, The Prisoners’ Education Trust, and The Forward Trust, which will enable education, health and hope to be given to those who desperately need it. Sincere thanks to you all and warmest congratulations to our St Martin’s Award recipients!


On Thursday May 9, 2019, the St Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Terry Waite CBE at the Lebanese Embassy in London. Please click here for a selection of photos from the evening.


Please also click here to view a letter of support for the St Martin's Award from the Ambassador of Lebanon.


The next St Martin's Award will be presented at a special concert for the National Brain Appeal at the Royal Academy of Music on October 20, 2019, featuring acclaimed pianist Colin Stone.


Lewis Owens

Jose photo

St Martin's Award for Prison Governance

Aim: to recognise the positive contribution of a UK prison governor towards the prisoners and staff in his or her care.

Recipient: Pia Sinha, HMP Liverpool

Award: Magnum of Taittinger Champagne (donated by the Taittinger family)


Pia Sinha qualified as a chartered psychologist and started her prison career in 1999, working in London’s Holloway women’s prison. Her primary focus as a psychologist was working with offenders with personality disorders and setting up services within the custodial environment that helped offenders address serious self-harm and violent behaviour.


Having worked as a psychologist, in many of the London and Surrey prisons, including Wormwood Scrubs and Wandsworth Prison, in 2009, Pia was selected on a fast-track scheme. Through this scheme Pia had to train and work as a prison officer and received operational training. Following a number of senior management positions, Pia came to the North-West on promotion to Deputy Governor for HMP Liverpool in 2012. This was followed by her first Governorship at HMP Thorn Cross in Cheshire and then HMP Risley two years later. Pia has been Governor at HMP Liverpool since November 2017. This appointment was a managed move in response to the poor and high profile inspection that took place in September 2017. HMP Liverpool’s re-inspection is imminent and Pia and her senior team have been working on a number of complex projects to deliver improvements on all the ‘healthy prison tests’ as identified during the inspection.

Paula for website Pia S

St Martin's Award for Prison Education

Aim: to recognise the positive contribution of an individual working to improve Further and Higher Education within UK prisons.

Recipient: Jose Aguiar FRSA

Award: Cheque for £1000




St Martin's Lifetime Achievement Award

Aim: To recognise the life and outstanding contribution of an individual in the field of humanitarian work

Recipient: Terry Waite CBE

Award: St Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Award presented at a reception at the Lebanese Embassy, jointly hosted by His Excellency Ambassador Rami Mortada and Dr Lewis Owens, in May 2019.


"Although it is an honour for me to receive the St Martin's Award, I am conscious of the fact that there are many other men and women who have done far more than myself to aid those who have suffered misfortune in life. What gives me particular pleasure is that this award will be given at the Lebanese Embassy in London. The people of Lebanon have suffered greatly over the years and have demonstrated considerable resilience in the face of extreme hardship. I trust that the award will give encouragement to people of all faiths in Lebanon and beyond who work for peace and reconciliation." Terry Waite CBE


Terry Waite has had a varied career which has encompassed negotiating for the release of hostages to being a hostage himself. Throughout his life he has worked for those who find themselves on the margins of society - the homeless, prisoners, and young people in poor countries who have few opportunities in life. He continues to freely give his time to this work and earns his living by writing and lecturing.

IMG_0250 Terry Waite