HMP Winchester inmate runs a million metres inside prison for Spurgeons charity

Dale running on treadmill

An inmate at HMP Winchester has raised £1636 for Spurgeons' Charity after seeing how it helps families. 

Dale Somerset* has completed a 'Million Metre Challenge'- 140km per week on the prison rowing machine and treadmill over several weeks in a bid to fund support for other prisoner's families. 

Dale's family worker Lucy Binns also joined him in his running challenge for the last week. Lucy has helped support Dale's partner and children while he is in prison. 

'Spurgeons have really helped me over the last few weeks and I thought what better place to raise money for than you,' Dale says. 'A lot of the lads here love what Spurgeons do- it's like the link that's missing in here. I've had facilitated phone calls to deal with issues regarding my daughter- I wouldn't have had that without Spurgeons. That would never have happened otherwise. 

'My key worker talks to my partner and puts her worries to bed. It's been a game changer. My partner has never been through this before. She was worrying and having communication with Lucy has helped put her mind at ease- she now understands the process that I'm going through. There was a lot of stress for her and having someone as a point of contact has been good for her. She seems a lot more at ease. It seems to lift some weight off of her. It's a process of emotions and having Lucy has helped 100%.'

Dale has been incarcerated previously and this is the first time his family has been supported. 'I've been in four different prisons before and this has never been on offer,' he says. 'This morning for instance, I did some crafts for my and then Lucy has been chasing up a social worker regarding my daughter. I've had all this help- advice and stuff that I would never have got before. The more time goes on the more I see the benefit of what you do.'

Knowing how much was being raised along the way, as well as all the support from staff was amazing.

Dale holding a finish sign after completing his fundraiser with Lucy and Ellie

Spurgeons not only supports families and facilitates family days through it's Invisible Walls programme, but also works with prisoners as they finish their sentence, via the Behind the Walls Beyond the Gates resettlement programme. Staff also provide parenting courses for prisoners and Storybook Dads, which enables children to receive a recorded bedtime story read by their father. 

'When a loved one goes into custody it can turn the loves of those at home upside down,' explains Vicky Baird, Prison Family Services Manager. 'It can impact emotionally, financially and physically. With the right levels of support and the opportunities to maintain positive contact, the negative impact imprisonment can have on a family unit can be hugely reduced. We are proud of the work we do and the difference this can make for the families we come into contact with. We are very grateful to Dale for choosing us to raise money for and take on such a mammoth challenge. The money he raises will help further the work we do to support families affected by imprisonment at HMP Winchester.

On completing the challenge Dale said he felt both happy and exhausted. 'Completing the challenge was a process,' he said. 'I was full of energy at the start and then hit a bit of a lull in the middle but finished with a bang. Knowing how much was being raised along the way, as well as the support from staff was amazing. For me, exercise is a coping strategy whilst being in here so to be able to use that to raise money for a cause I'm really passionate about was amazing and shows there is a positive in here- there's a lot of guys here that love their family. I've been in other jails, and I know that the support that we receive in here would not happen without Spurgeons. I'm so pleased I did the challenge. Knowing that the money will help with things like family days and supporting other dads, it feels worthwhile. 

Sponsor Dale in his challenge and help other families.

*Name changed to protect anonymity.

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