BARNARDO’S is recruiting volunteers from Redditch to prevent vulnerable children suffering a ‘hidden sentence’.
The charity has been commissioned by HMPPS to support families visiting loved ones at HMP Hewell in the village of Tardebigge, between Redditch and Bromsgrove.
Barnardo’s will encourage positive relationships and promote children’s play during visits, in order to reduce the impact of parental imprisonment on young people.
Volunteers will also signpost families to important sources of information and support.
Barnardo’s engagement manager Sara Rattenbury said: “Families often suffer their own ‘hidden sentence’ when a parent is imprisoned, experiencing social isolation and stigma.
“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 partner.
“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 include welcoming families and promoting positive play between fathers and their children.
Help is needed on different days at different times, mostly in the afternoons but also including occasional all-day sessions at weekends.
Sara added: “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.
Experience of working with vulnerable children and adults would be useful but not essential. Potential volunteers would need to undergo enhanced disclosure checks.
Call Sara on 07525 804766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org