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Charity’s call for volunteers to help support families of inmates

Volunteers are being urged to help support families visiting inmates at a local prison.

Barnardo’s has been commissioned by the prison service to work at centres including Swinfen Hall Young Offenders Institute.

The charity says volunteers will encourage positive relationships and promote children’s play during visits in a bid to reduce the impact of parental imprisonment on young people. They will also direct families to other sources of information and support.

Sara Rattenbury, from Barnardo’s, said: “Families often serve their own hidden sentence when a parent is imprisoned, experiencing stigma and social isolation.

“Children can be particularly affected, quite often experiencing feelings akin to grief. The parent left in the community has their own and their child’s feelings to contend with as well as the challenge of keeping in touch with the imprisoned parent.

“Therefore we want to create a small but friendly team of volunteers who will make a big difference to young lives by supporting them during this difficult period.”

Tasks will include welcoming families and promoting positive play between fathers and their children.

Sara said: “Research has shown that prisoners who maintain links with their families are less likely to reoffend upon release, so this is a unique opportunity to not only support vulnerable children but also benefit wider society.”

No formal qualifications are required, but applicants must be non-judgemental, enthusiastic and have good communication and listening skills. Potential volunteers would need to undergo enhanced disclosure checks.

For more details call Sara on 07525 804766 or email sara.rattenbury@barnardos.org.uk.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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