Marsh Award for Voluntary Work With Prisoners' Families
This Award is run in parnership with Action for Prisoner's Families and recognises individuals or groups who have made a difference and been an inspiration to the field of voluntary work for prisoners families. It recognises their support for those who are left to cope with the hardships associated with having a family member or partner in prison.
Action for Prisoners' Families is a membership organisation for prisoners' and offenders' families and those who work with them. They provide advice, information and training to members, as well as a network through which prisoner's and offenders' families can share their experiences and be listened to.
The 2013 winners are The PSS Children and Susan Woodcock
The Person Shaped Support (PSS) Children
A group of children from PSS, all of whom have a parent in prison, have designed a booklet to give support to other children in their position and help reduce the stigma they face in their schools and community.
The booklet is called ‘Don’t Worry’ and offers positive coping strategies for issues such as missing a parent in prison, dealing with possible bullying, what prison is really like or how a child might feel when their parent is released from prison.
The children have worked hard on the project by drawing the pictures and coming up with the advice themselves. This process has not only had a great positive impact on their own self-esteem and has allowed their voice to be heard, but has also made a real difference to the lives of other children by making them feel that they are not alone. The booklet also provides valuable information on how prisoner services can effectively work with children and families.
This is a wonderful project by young people who have shared their difficult experiences to help others and for this they truly deserve to be recognised.
Susan Woodcock - Prison Advice and Care Trust
Susan is a young person who started volunteering with Prison Advice and Care Trust as part of an employment scheme. She then went onto volunteering independently and, as she gained more experience and confidence over time, increased her volunteering commitment from twice to four times a week, often volunteering up to 40 hours.
Susan has supported the core team to ensure that the service provides good play facilities for visiting families and has enabled extra activities to be organised in a child friendly environment. She always welcomes families into the centre with a smile and provides information and advice on the service. For families, knowing that someone like Susan will support them through the next few hours is enough to reduce their stress and anxiety.
She is a reliable and motivated individual who has developed her skills and abilities over time, all with the aim of helping others.
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