Children with a parent or close relative in prison will receive support from the Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) thanks to a grant of £40,000 from South Wales Freemasons.
The £40,000 grant will support Pact’s ‘Reach Out’ project, which will provide enhanced care and support to children and young people aged three to 16 with a father or close male relative in prison at HMP Swansea and their families. Many of these children have special educational needs and disabilities. The programme will help them cope with the emotional and practical challenges of having a loved one in prison. It also aims to make visiting the prison and maintaining family ties as manageable as possible.
The funding will make a significant difference in the lives of children and their families by providing personalised support. Pact will provide tailored support plans for each child and family, helping them to navigate the criminal justice system and provide access to appropriate services to meet their needs.
Additionally, outreach work in the local community will raise awareness of the challenges young people involved with the criminal justice system face among professionals like teachers, counsellors, and social workers.
Approximately 200,000 – 300,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment across England and Wales each year. Children with a parent in prison are at a higher risk of bullying and social isolation at school, impacting their social and emotional development. This lack of empathy disrupts education and makes attending school daunting, especially for children with special needs or disabilities who may further struggle with communication and emotional processing concerning their parent’s imprisonment.
This project empowers Pact to amplify their mission of fostering a society that embraces justice as a transformative journey of restoration and healing for families as well as prisoners. This project ensures that fewer children will experience isolation and exclusion from their peers, fostering a greater sense of belonging and connection.
The grant from South Wales Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Pact Head of Services for Wales and West England, Nadia Emblin said:
“We’re very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their generous grant. Research shows that prisoners who receive visits from a family member are nearly 40 per cent less likely to reoffend. ‘Reach Out’ will ensure that, where appropriate, prisoners and their children can maintain their vital bonds, reducing the harm caused to families by imprisonment and effectively reducing the likelihood of reoffending.”
Robert Payne from South Wales Freemasons, said:
“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to help Pact with their vital project. It’s hard for any child to have a parent in prison but for those with special needs it’s even more difficult. Pact’s work reduces reoffending and does much to keep families together. It’s hugely important for the families and for society in general that this vital project is supported.”
Photo Left to Right : Philip Bevan (South Wales Freemasons) Zuzanna Cybulska (Family Engagement Manager, PACT) Shantelle Shields (Child And Young Person Practitioner, PACT) Robert Payne (South Wales Freemasons) and Merrick Jones (South Wales Freemasons).