Volunteers needed to work with families at HMP The Verne

Volunteers needed to work with families at HMP The Verne

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:52am 3rd October 2019.

Barnardo's are calling for volunteers in Dorset to join a 'life-changing' project to help vulnerable children.

The scheme, which works with children and families with loved ones in prison, aims to prevent innocent children suffering their own 'hidden sentence' when a love one is imprisoned.

The 'project' launched two years ago at HMP Portland and is now rolling out at HMP The Verne on Portland.

An open day is taking place on 9th October from 10-12 at The Verne visitor centre near the Jailhouse Cafe where people can learn about the roles available.

The Verne 1
HMP The Verne

Barnardo's volunteer co-ordinator Penny Fisher said:

"Families often suffer their own 'hidden sentence' when a parent is imprisoned, suffering stigma, depression, anxiety and social isolation.

"Children can be particularly affected and sometimes struggle to understand what has happened, while the remaining parent can be unsure of what happens next and where they can go for help.

prison cell

"We have a diverse range of volunteers, from teenage student to people in their 50s, offering a regular commitment of just a few hours each week.

"They encourage fathers and children to play games and enjoy other activities together in order to strengthen relationships, and they signpost families to further support if needed."

One mother said of the scheme:

"Without Barnardo's kindness and support I really would have been lost."

Another added:

"We saw our son's light up after spending time with his dad."