Marsh Award for Voluntary Work with Prisoners’ Families

This Award was run in partnership with Action for Prisoners’ Families, a membership organisation for the families of prisoners and offenders and those who work with them. The Award recognised individuals and groups who made a difference to the field of working with prisoners’ families through the support and dedication they provided.

The Award was presented from 2010 until 2013.

The Person Shaped Support (PSS) Children and Susan Woodcock 2013

The Person Shaped Support (PSS) Children – This group of children have designed a booklet to give support to other children who have a parent in prison and help reduce the stigma they face in their schools and community. “Don’t Worry” offers positive coping strategies for issues such as missing a parent, dealing with bullies, what prison is really like and how they might feel when their parent is released. The project has allowed their voice to be heard and has made a real difference to other children in their situation.

Susan Woodcock – Susan is a volunteer with the Prison Advice and Care Trust, having started as part of an employment scheme but now dedicating up to 40 hours a week. She has supported the core team to ensure there are good play facilities for children and has enabled extra activities to be organised for them. Susan welcomes families with a smile and they know that she will be there to support them throughout their visit.

Previous Winners

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) Volunteers, Sarah Smyth and Penny Clow

PACT Volunteers – The volunteers work in the tea bar of the visitors’ hall at HMP Nottingham, presenting a welcoming and friendly presence to visiting families as a source of comfort. The Operations Governor at the prison says “their welcoming and friendly demeanour has served only to ensure that the visiting experience is less daunting and stressful than it can sometimes be”.

Sarah Smyth – Sarah is a volunteer with the Person Shaped Support Service (PSS) and has set up a community based support group for the partners of people in prison in Liverpool, which is the only group of its kind. Having previously been a service user, Sarah wanted to give something back and help those who are going through similar experiences. She has attended numerous training courses and has made a real difference to people who use the service.

Penny Clow – Penny has been a volunteer for the Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service (PFFS) for 38 years, beginning as a befriender for 100s of families to now becoming a Trustee. In 1994, she set up the PFFS Court Project and she has been instrumental in devising the family centre’s programme of educational activities. Her work has made a huge difference to the lives of prisoners and their families.

Ann Christine Hayes

Ann as been a volunteer at Manchester Prison Visiting Centre for 12 years, helping at 2 or 3 sessions a week. She is very friendly; her non-judgemental attitude makes her approachable and she provides vital support and information to families visiting the centre. Ann has produced a number of booklets and resources for children visiting the prison as well as a guide for families who are bringing them to visit the prison.

Stephen and Patricia Will

Stephen and Patricia are volunteers, and founding members, with Action for Families Enduring Criminal Trauma (AFFECT). Patricia is the volunteer and group co-ordinator, counsellor, trainer and initial assessor and she goes above and beyond by supporting families at court and giving presentations about the work of AFFECT. Stephen is AFFECT’s strategic planner as well as taking on a number of volunteer roles within the group and the charity as a whole.