There's something very special about a parent and child sharing a book at bedtime, especially when that parent is in prison. Spurgeons staff help dads to keep in touch with their children through the Storybook Dads reading scheme in a number of our prison-based family support services.
Enabling dads in prison to share bedtime stories with their children
Our HMP Norwich service won an award for the project last year, where more than 300 dads at the prison have been supported to choose, record and read a book over the past three years alone. Each one is made into a CD or online recording by the national charity Storybook Dads, who add in the music and sound effects before sending it to the family together with a copy of the book.
Supporting dads wanting to be better fathers... whatever their situation
Sharon Berry, who founded the Storybook Dads charity, said: ''It can be quite difficult to run this scheme in prisons because of security and regime restrictions and each establishment may have its own set of challenges. Yet HMP Norwich has been able to successfully deliver Storybook Dads for many years and that means a lot of children's lives have been made happier because of it.''
''I miss my Daddy... when I feel lonely... hearing his voice makes me feel better.''
One dad told Spurgeons: ''Making a recording is very important to me because it means I can still have some connection with my children while I am serving a prison sentence... I used to read to them all the time. This means I can still sort of be there for the children... being able to record a story for them really means a lot... so thank you.''
Another chuckled as he read the story and hearing their Dad laughing was previous for his children ''the kids absolutely loved it; it made them happy to know I was happy... and it made their day to listen to their Dad reading them a story.''
It can often be a memorable and emotional experience for the dads and gives the children the chance to listen to their Dad's voice whenever they want to - the timing and length of phone calls home is difficult to guarantee. It is a family reminder to let children know that they are loved and missed.
''That CD was brilliant - she loves it... she kept kissing it. It was really emotional thing for him to have done for her.''
At HMP Winchester, our team are also involved in making video recordings, so children can see as well as hear their dad! An we hope to attract additional funding, so that more dads can share bedtime stories with their children through this brilliant scheme.
Each year StoryBook Dads works in around 100 prisons to help more than 5,000 prisoners record bedtime stories for their children. For more information visit their website:
Support for families
Spurgeons delivers a variety of activities and programmes to support both fathers in prison and their families.
Read about our award-winning Invisible Walls service at HMP Winchester
Offering a Helping Hand
Read our guide to supporting those affected by IPP sentences
Our family days are a way for children to connect with their parent in prison
Top Tips for Families
Read our guide to supporting a child with a parent in prison
Support services and useful links for families affected by imprisonment
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