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Prison inmates prove to be hot stuff

PUTTING A LID ON THINGS: Peter Morrison, (left) Stewart Dobson and Jenny Steel, head of reducing re-offending at HMP Featherstone

A UNIQUE stove that will be a lifeline to thousands of families in developing countries is finally at the refined model stage – thanks to support from pioneering inmates at a West Midlands prison.

The Featherstone EcoStove was launched earlier this year at HMP Featherstone in Wolverhampton after prisoners worked with award-winning inventor, Peter Morrison to design and create a cooking stove that is expected to save thousands of lives.

Staggering figures from the World Health Organisation reveal that more than 1.9 million people die prematurely from smoke inhalation every year while cooking outside in Third World countries.

The dual function EcoStove diverts harmful fumes in a unique chimney and also has a built-in water tank to boil and sanitise water.

PRODUCTION

“We are now in the process of refining our original model and we’ve already taken some of the cost out of its production,” said Morrison, who has been twice awarded British Inventor of the Year and is founder of Solas Consultants Ltd, where ‘ideas come to life.’

Through the Eureka Programme in partnership with Manchester College, Morrison worked with prisoners to create the stove from the initial design stage, creating cardboard models to a working stove.

Their invention is now being promoted under a sponsor-a-stove model where local businesses can purchase a stove for distribution across Africa and India.

The stove has already attracted immense interest from Nigeria where thousands of families still cook and heat their homes using open fires and basic stoves. Dr Andrew Mubo Eniola, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development in Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria, was at the official launch in March and praised the project, explaining that unsafe stoves were a great hazard in his country.

Morrison said the final touches were now being put to a production contract to begin manufacturing the EcoStoves for distribution.

INVENTION

The innovator has even employed former prisoner Stewart Dobson, who was with the EcoStove invention right from the start. Dobson was a sales director with a leading bank before drug and alcohol abuse problems landed him with a four and a half year jail term at HMP Featherstone.

“Peter has proved to be a man of his word and shown great faith in me,” said Dobson. “He’s an inspirational leader and working with him has now given me a whole new lease of life. The EcoStove is such an exciting project and I’m looking forward to helping to market and promote it.”

Jenny Steel, head of reducing re-offending at HMP Featherstone, said: “Peter Morrison’s work has been inspirational for the prisoners. To see an idea develop from a cardboard model to a fully working stove has been fantastic.”

Morrison appeared on TV show Dragons’ Den with his internationally recognised ‘leaf log’ which is an eco-friendly fuel made out of leaves. He became involved with HMP Featherstone after completing a Prison Link volunteer course, which helps to re-settle offenders back into the community.

The Eureka Programme includes HMP Oakwood, HMP Swansea and St George’s Community Hub among its clients.

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