Safe Ground - Using drama to educate prisoners and young people at risk in the community


A Family Support Worker First

Read all about Cara Fruin’s first experience as a Family Support Worker on the Father’s Inside programme at HMP & YOI Parc

I have just completed facilitating my first fathers inside programme at HMP & YOI Parc in South Wales. Before the programme started I was excited and positive about what the next eight weeks would bring. I really enjoyed the training and the way in which the programme involves the whole family and uses a variety of different methods of work throughout.

I knew some of the students and their families from other interventions I had carried out in my current role, working as part of the Invisible Walls Wales team. Although throughout the eight weeks I got to know the whole group much more. The students were varied in age with a mix of different experiences. Some in which they shared with the group throughout the process as they got closer as a group.

I believe the students found the process eye opening, thought provoking, hard work and emotional although poignant. I found the process throughout the programme to be enjoyable, humorous and very heartfelt. It was definitely a learning experience for all.

All the students looked forward to the family day which took place on Wednesday 3rd December 2014. The presentation went really well and was full of fun and laughs although with a key message.  The students chose to make personal pledges to their families after their play, which were very emotive to the families, students, children and even the staff.

It made me feel content and proud to be involved in the whole process. I was grateful for all the support I had received particularly from the lead facilitator, Programme manager, family support worker and my line manager, who had all supported me throughout and helped make the whole experience happen and an enjoyable as it was.

I think all the students took something away from the programme and the whole experience. For some students this included an increase in confidence, increased knowledge, realisation of their families’ feelings and experiences, the importance of honesty with their children, awareness of their risk factors and a change in attitudes and thinking.

At the end of facilitating my first fathers inside I believe fathers inside is positive in helping towards desistance from crime and other similar programmes would also be beneficial. The programme had its challenges, although it was a team effort and the whole group and everyone that supported us made it such a success and I look forward to facilitating my next safe ground programme.


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