Prisoner fundraises to help Spurgeons families
An inmate at HMP Winchester has been inspired to raise money for Spurgeons' Invisible Walls service after seeing how it helps families.
Supporting the families of incarcerated men
For the families of inmates, life can prove difficult. Not only can they face judgement and being ostracised from their community, but they may face financial hardship. Children can be particularly impacted by this and can feel devastated at their parent being absent.
Visiting prison can be particularly daunting for a family. For children, the environment can seem unsettling and even frightening.
Dale Somerset has found that his family's case worker Lucy has helped support his partner, and by extension his two children.
'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 who has helped put her mind at ease- she now understands the process 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 Christmas crafts for my kids 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.'
Spurgeons not only supports families but also facilitates family days and supports 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.
Raising funds from inside
Dale has run marathons before and raised money for a cancer charity. This time he is completing a 'Million Metre Challenge' for Spurgeons over 7 weeks, using running and rowing equipment inside the prison to complete 20k a day.
'Spurgeons have really helped me over the last few weeks and I thought what better place to raise money for than you,' he says.
'When a loved one goes into custody it can turn the lives 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.'