Introduction

Video storybook project at HMP Norwich to support families separated by imprisonment

Video storybook project at HMP Norwich to support families separated by imprisonment

There’s something very special about a parent and child sharing a book at bedtime, especially when that parent is in prison. Now, support has been made available by the Police and Crime Commissioners of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to boost a Spurgeons supported reading scheme at HMP Norwich to enable children at home to see their parent and share a story despite being worlds apart. 

For many years Spurgeons colleagues have helped dads to keep in touch with their children through the Storybook Dads reading scheme in a number of our prison-based family support services.

In particular, the Spurgeons team at HMP Norwich won an award for the project, where more than 300 dads at the prison have been supported to choose, record and read a book. 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.

New support being made available by the Police and Crime Commissioners of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire will allow for the purchase of extra equipment to further enhance the existing work being done under the Storybook Dads programme to include video recordings, which can be sent home to children and families of prisoners. This is particularly important during this time as many families have been unable to visit their loved ones due to the ongoing pandemic and cancellation of visits including the well-attended family days and children’s focused visits provided by the team.

Naomi Webb, Family Services Manager at HMP Norwich, says: “Spurgeon’s Children’s Charity at HMP Norwich is delighted to have received support from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk to be able to extend our Storybook Dads Project to include video recordings.

“With support from the prison and the generous donation from the PCC, dads in custody at HMP Norwich will now be given the opportunity to appear on film reading their children a bedtime story, supporting them to remain in contact with their children whilst providing reassurance and ultimately better outcomes for the child affected by parental imprisonment.”

A dad records a story for his child under StoryBook Dads

To read the full article on the Norwich Evening News website, click here.

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.