June Edition: Fathers Behind Bars
Welcome to the June edition of our e-Newsletter! With Father's Day just around the corner, this month we will focus on fathers in the criminal justice system.
Meet a Pact volunteer
Last week was National Volunteers' Week, an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. We rely on the support of our dedicated volunteers in order to provide the support that prisoners and their families need. This week, meet Rachel, one of our volunteers who works in HMP Cardiff.
"I have been volunteering for Pact at HMP Cardiff for nearly two years and during this time I have had the opportunity to work with many prisoners and their children. I regularly help out at Pact’s Baby Group and it is lovely to see how the relationship between father and baby develops. It’s fantastic to see the dads witnessing key moments in their child’s early development; seeing them learn to crawl and even take their first wobbly steps.
I have also volunteered at Pact-run Family Days which, like Baby Group, provide a far more relaxed, informal setting for the families than normal visits. I help out with the various activities that are provided for the families including face painting, drawing pictures and making cards, and fathers get to take their child’s creations back with them to their cells.
I’ve also had the opportunity to co-facilitate one of Pact’s parenting courses. It was great to see the impact that the course has, and it was especially encouraging to hear from one of the fathers that we would never see him back inside once he was out as he did not want to be away from his children ever again.
Recently, I have been shadowing on the wings and meeting with prisoners who have requested a meeting with a Pact worker. Some of these meetings have been about informing them of family days, parenting and relationship courses and putting them forward for these. Other meetings have been about exploring different ways that they can keep in contact with their children where the relationship has broken down with the child/children’s mother.
During my time volunteering for Pact, what has really struck me is how many fathers there are in prison who are desperate to be in contact with their children and how being apart from them deeply affects them. I am glad to volunteer for a charity that is trying to help maintain and strengthen the bond between father and child during imprisonment."
We would like to say a huge thanks to the staff at the London Collection and Compliance Centre for their generous donation to Pact following their Dress Down Friday. If your place of work regularly holds charity events why not suggest Pact as a possible charity to support?
We would also like to thank all those brave runners who took on the London Marathon to raise money for Pact. The money is still trickling in, but 2016 is on target to be the most successful year for Pact’s London Marathon teams! We are on course to raise over £10,000 and many Pact runners finished the 26.2 miles with some impressive finishing times.