While Covid restrictions have prevented dads being able to hug their children on prison visits, hand knitted teddy bears have come to the rescue.
Kirsty Glover, Spurgeons Senior Practitioner at HMP Bure, says, “Maggie Dixon MBE is chair of our local Independent Monitoring Board (which monitors daily life in the prison and ensures residents are fairly treated). She has contacts within many local knitting groups, who knitted some teddy bears for us to use with children during socially distanced visits, with one group ‘Norfolk Knitters’, donating over 30 bears.
“It’s been hard for the children not to be able to have any physical contact with their fathers.
“They could choose two teddies to take into the visit hall – one for them, and one for a Spurgeons staff member to pass to their dad. These teddies can then pass ‘magic cuddles’ for dad or child to feel during the visit.
“The Prison have been very supportive, with Governor Adcock (HMP Bure’s Reducing Reoffending Governor) supporting the scheme from the beginning.”
Often fathers in prison have not seen their child for a long time, and they can struggle to keep the conversation going. But playing together with the teddy bears can really help. One dad commented, “We had fun with the cuddly toys and it made the experience easier.”
About Spurgeons Prison-based Family Support Services:
Spurgeons delivers family support services in 12 prisons across England. These services provide family support services for prisoners and their families and friends who visit them, with a particular focus on children and strengthening family relationships. We appreciate how important prison visits are for everyone involved. Our aim is to make them less daunting so that the time spent together helps families to re-connect in a positive way. We are always here to offer practical and emotional support.
To learn more about our work in prisons, click here.