THE CHILDREN and family department at a Redditch prison have received a commendation by the Butler Trust, presented by The Princess Royal.
The team were nominated by a prisoner at HMP Hewell, for their work with his family during his time there.
The children and family department are know as The Rainbows Team, they deliver workshops and courses for expectant fathers and families to help the emotional separation that comes with being separated.
This includes a ‘Bump to Babies’ course for all expectant dads in the prison where over nine weeks the men can learn the basic skills of taking care of a baby, recording a children story with the audio sent home to their kids and family days, where families visit the prison in a more relaxed environment.
HMP Hewell’s Governor Ralph Lubkowski, said: “The work that the team do is invaluable to the prison.
“They are singularly dedicated to harnessing the power of reuniting or maintaining contact between men and their families, but also to supporting those men who have become estranged or the families themselves who may be struggling.
“They are integral to my vision for HMP Hewell.
“I hope the strength of my support gives some indication of the value in which I and the prison hold this wonderful team.”
Nichola Harris who is the Children and Families Manager at HMP Hewell and now works through The Rainbow YMCA Project has been at Hewell for over 16 years.
Firstly as a Play Worker, supervising play for children visiting loved ones in Hewell, then as the Play Coordinator coordinating four play areas and Family Days across all Hewell prison sites.
For the last 10 years she’s been the Children and Families Manager.
She said: “I feel extremely privileged to be in a position where we are trusted enough to be able to support and empower prisoners and their families when they are feeling at their most powerless.
“No two days are ever the same and this, to me, is one of the main attractions of the job.
“Our work is needs led, therefore we are providing and offering support at the right time for each individual prisoner and their family.
“It was amazing to meet Princess Anne and this award will enable us to continue our work.”