Danny Kruger's office, a small cubicle in the basement of a converted church in the rundown King's Cross area of London, is a far cry from the halls of Westminster. After several years in the Conservative party, most recently as a special adviser to the leader David Cameron, and a stint as chief leader writer for the Daily Telegraph, he quit politics in 2008 to devote his time to Only Connect, a charity for ex-prisoners, founded by his wife Emma.
It is named after the celebrated E.M. Forster injunction: "Only connect! Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted." It aims to help ex-offenders to build a life outside prison. It not only helps them with the prosaic, practical business of life - housing, and jobs - it also provides a creative outlet and a community. The group produces plays, with ex-prisoners as the actors. These have been a critical success, receiving good reviews in the national press. But their main purpose has been to engage the ex-prisoners in a collaborative effort, working as a team towards a common goal.
"The arts can be transformative," says Kruger. "It opens up the heart to relationships and self-expression. It induces great self-worth."
The government does little to help released prisoners, and many fall back into crime; two-thirds are reconvicted within two years of their release. Kruger wants to change that. He thinks that small, locally-based charities are the answer. "We need many little platoons at work, not just the single big battalion of government." Only Connect has six members of staff, including Danny and Emma Kruger.
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