Marsh Award for Volunteering with Pact

This Award is run in partnership with Pact and recognises volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their role and commitment to supporting people in prison and their families, but who have never sought any recognition for their work.

Nominations are put forward from colleagues across the organisation and are judged by a panel of Pact staff and representatives from the MCT.


In 2021, the number of awards was increased to recognise 6 regional volunteers working in Pact’s services across the UK.

Old Bailey Volunteering Team, Anne St John Hall, Kelly Smith, Sonja Sherratt Jenkins, David Anderson, and Ian Henderson 2023

Volunteer Team of the Year

Old Bailey Volunteering Team  

These volunteers are an exceptional group whose communication, dedication and passion shines through. Together, they complete over 70 hours of volunteering each month, helping countless families and friends through the most stressful times while their loved one is facing trial. The volunteers are well known by court staff and are often sought out when there is someone in need. They deal with high stress situations calmly and tactfully, putting all involved at ease and offering much needed guidance and support. The volunteers keep one another updated on the cases that they have supported, so that there is consistency for the families they are supporting. The volunteers’ success at the Old Bailey, and their willingness to share their knowledge with other prospective volunteers, has meant that this vital project has been rolled out in other courts across London. This has helped to raise the profile of Pact’s work, and also ensure that people are supported through their most stressful times. 

London and the South East

Anne St John Hall 

Anne is a volunteer with the Family Services team at HMP Feltham in Hounslow and has been volunteering there since March 2023. In just a short space of time, she has made a noticeable difference to the prison and has proven herself to be a dedicated and reliable member of the team. Anne’s main role is to assist with all aspects of family visits at the prison, including play work with the children. She completes at least one shift per week and has been known to cover shifts when other volunteers are not available. She is always the first to offer her support when needed and helps families throughout their visit, whether that be in a practical way or by offering a listening ear. Anne has built good relationships with both staff and service users, she loves to chat and laugh with everyone but can also be very empathetic and is great at solving problems that can unexpectedly arise. 

National Services

Kelly Smith 

Kelly is both a volunteer with the Prisoners’ Families Helpline and a National Befriending volunteer, showing complete commitment to her role within Pact. She began volunteering with the helpline in May 2022 and has volunteered on a regular basis, showing compassion and kindness in what can be an extremely challenging environment. Kelly became a befriending volunteer in February 2023 and goes above and beyond for the people she is supporting through this service. The requirement for volunteers is one hour per week, but Kelly consistently exceeds this by offering additional support to service users with their welfare grant applications, securing referrals and GP appointments and simply being there for them over the phone when they need her. Service users have described her as their “right hand and backbone” and it is clear that she has used her lived experience with Pact as a means to provide an exceptional level of support. 

Wales, the South and Cheshire

Sonja Sherratt-Jenkins 

Sonja has been volunteering with the Family Services team at HMP Channings Wood in Newton Abbott for over 5 years and was integral to settling in the team from Pact when they took over the running of the service in October 2022. She volunteers 2 days a week and takes on the majority of the casework at the prison. Her role can include inductions for vulnerable prisoners, taking on weekly welfare calls to families and assisting with any casework that may be long and complicated. She is incredibly committed to providing the best possible assistance to her service users and prisoners and families get on with her well and trust her. Sonja gives between 12 and 16 hours of her time each week to work on casework, but also makes herself available to help at the family visits at the prison each week if an extra pair of hands is needed.  

West Midlands 

David Anderson 

David has been a CFO3 volunteer for 6 years, providing about 2-4 hours a week to one-to-one casework, mentoring, facilitated learning and short courses in prison and in the community. He began volunteering when a member of staff was not available to cover this service and has consistently kept the offer running throughout this time, filling a much needed gap for service users. He communicates effectively with staff and adheres to wellbeing and safety policies which actually helped him to flag up some safeguarding concerns for individuals that may have otherwise been missed. David has consistently volunteered regardless of the personal issues he has faced and has a gentle mannerism when engaging with service users which helps them to trust him and open up to him. He is an empath, and does not discriminate while providing support and also promoting independence so that service users can feel ready to rejoin the community on release. 

Ian Henderson 

Ian is a volunteer with the Education, Training and Employment (ETE) programme, helping countless individuals on license to prepare for a future outside of the justice system. He has consistently been a major presence with the service, this year alone he has given 35 hours to group work sessions at Swansea probation service. He is a welcomed presence at sites, with his positive attitude and empathy for service users helping to put them at ease. Ian often adapts his approach to suit the needs of the service user, ensuring that he is flexible with his schedule to help as many people as possible. He was initially referred to the service while on license himself and has been keen to give back to help others who are in the same position that he was in himself. Ian’s commitment to the service is evident in his work ethic and the feedback he gets from staff and service users alike. 

Previous Winners

Celia Moore, Dawn Verrall, Alanah Maskell, and Emily Dix, Lauren Horne, Patsy Hunt

National Services

Celia Moore – Call Handler for the Prisoners’ Families Helpline

Celia is a volunteer with the helpline, answering calls from families of prisoners and providing information, guidance and support to all who call while showing compassion and kindness. She has been with the service for just over a year and volunteers on a consistent and regular basis, often going the extra mile to try and get someone the support they need. Celia is a determined person, often staying on after her shift has ended to ensure that her casework is completed. She has a thirst for knowledge and a desire to learn more about Pact’s wider strategy and initiatives. Celia recently attended Pact’s Foundation Training sessions to talk about her experiences of being a volunteer and encourage others to get involved with volunteering for the helpline. She really cares about what she does in her role as a volunteer and has offered on numerous occasions to take on extra shifts to help out in any way that she can.


London and the South East

Dawn Verrall – Court Volunteer

Dawn attends court every week to provide emotional and practical support to families going through the court process. She has also built strong relationships with the Witness and Probation Services in order to gain more resources and referrals of clients for Pact. Dawn has been involved with induction days for new court volunteers, has built great relationships with the Court staff in order to make families feel more comfortable and always provides additional information to point families in the direction of external services should they need it. She is always available to support staff and volunteers and communicates constantly, acting as a point of liaison so that Pact staff can build strong relationships with the courts. Dawn motivates other volunteers and shares ideas that have worked well for her on how to support families in order to provide the best possible service.

West Midlands, CFO3 and ETE

Alanah Maskell – CFO Mentor

Alanah is a mentor with the CFO Project, run by Pact with external funding to offer both emotional and practical support to service users with identified support needs. She has been volunteering with the project since November 2021 and has already dedicated over 60 hours to supporting the service user that she has been matched with. Alanah stands out from other volunteers for her dedication, patience and persistence. She has been matched to a service user which has transpired to be a very complicated and heavy case, but Alanah has not given up. She has completed hours of research to gather information and resources that could help her service user with everything from organising housing on his release from prison to finding social groups that he could join in order to integrate with the community. Even though her service user is not always easy to engage, Alanah follows up on each session to monitor his progress and ensure he is getting the best help possible. Beyond this, she has also written professional reports and has shown an interest in gaining experience in other areas of Pact’s services. Alanah shows a real passion to help others and this shines through in her volunteering.


Wales and the South West

Emily Dix, Lauren Horne, Patsy Hunt – Family Services Volunteer, HMP Cardiff

These three volunteers have all made outstanding individual contributions to running family services at HMP Cardiff. They are passionate about the work that they do and are extremely committed to their role. The panel could not choose just one winner out of the three and so the Award will be shared between them. They have each taken on a number of different roles, including offering emotional support for visitors, assisting with the catering service, planning and supporting Family Days at the prison and also taking on casework. They have also taken on relief work, travelling to other prisons in the area that need volunteer assistance whenever they are able to. Below are some individual examples of their outstanding commitment:

  • Emily Dix – supported a service user through the befriending service by making weekly phone calls to provide emotional support during a difficult time for this service user and their family.
  • Lauren Horne – works specifically with children during Family Days, running play sessions and ensuring that the needs of children are met throughout their visit to their family member in prison.
  • Patsy Hunt – supports families during visits to the prison, ensuring that they know the rules of the prison in order for their visit to run smoothly. On one occasion, she advocated for a family who were facing difficulty attending the prison and ensured their visit could go ahead.


North and East Midlands

Helen Colban – Visits/Booking In Volunteer, HMP Gartree (Leicestershire) 

Helen has been volunteering for PACT for around 9 years and goes above and beyond the requirements of her role. She supports 4 visit sessions at the prison each week and does so with pride, passion and commitment. She supports both staff and the visitors who come through the door, providing a personal touch which makes people feel supported, valued and welcomed. Helen also supports her fellow volunteers and is committed to providing the best possible service at the prison. She books in visitors, offers emotional and practical support and undertakes any extra administration work where cover is needed. Helen is an amazing person, a special team member and a valuable asset to PACT. 

Alice Ketley, Mark Judd, Camilla Albery, Lisa Taylor, Grace Mitchelmore an Jess Tooley

  • Central Office 

Alice Ketley, Communications Officer 

Alice started volunteering for the communications team in April 2021 and her enthusiastic and positive attitude makes her a joy to have around, albeit virtually due to coronavirus restrictions. She is willing to try her hand at anything that gets thrown her way. She is dedicated and consistent, and produces a very high standard of work, which is invaluable in such a fast-paced and high-stakes environment. Alice is also creative and contributes ideas to the team, which helps to make them the best that they can be. She volunteers around 2 to 3 hours a week and her role is wide and varied. Alice drafts social media content, writes stories for PACT’s website, researches the latest developments in the criminal justice system and designs marketing materials.  

  • West Midlands 

Mark Judd, CF03 Mentor 

Mark is a mentoring volunteer with PACT’s CF03 project, working with some of the hardest to reach prisoners on anything from basic life skills and hygiene up to low-level qualifications which will give them a chance of success when they are released from prison. He has made a huge impact with the service users he has volunteered with, particularly his most recent service user. When they were first matched, the service user had an issue with engagement and spoke negatively about anyone in a position of authority, but Mark built a rapport with him and has had over 50 sessions with him, enabling the service user to speak more positively about those in authority and recognise that they are only trying to help. Throughout the pandemic, Mark has provided telephone support to service users, as well as volunteering with the ‘Through the Gate’ project where he meets service users as they are released to help them back into society. Mark has given a total of 548 hours of volunteering over the last 2 and a half years. 

  • Wales, South and Cheshire 

Camilla Albery, Family Services, Helpline and Befriending Services, HMP Bristol 

Camilla is a valued member of the team, with her cool, calm and collected attitude which radiates positivity to service users in an already stressful environment. Her vast amount of knowledge and ability to calmly communicate with stressed or upset people makes visitors to the prison feel at ease. Camilla volunteers 2 times a week with the Family Services team and uses her leadership qualities to help support and develop other volunteers. She joined the Befriending team in August 2020 and has shown exceptional commitment and dedication to this role. Camilla supports with the running of prison visits, speaking to visitors on arrival and getting to the bottom of any problems that they might have. She is also involved with peer support groups, has supported PACT’s helpline to provide support to those with a loved one in prison. Camilla lives in Devon and so travels over an hour to be able to volunteer at the Bristol services, which further demonstrates her commitment. 

  • National Services 

Lisa Taylor, Prisoners’ Families Helpline 

Lisa has made a big impact on the helpline since she started volunteering in December 2020. Since then, she has given 9 hours a week to her volunteering and is extremely reliable, which makes a huge difference to the level of service that the helpline is able to offer. Lisa answers calls from family members or friends who have a loved one in prison, offering advice and guidance to them during a difficult time. She is always willing to help out wherever she can and has also volunteered for Pact at Belmarsh prison. Her role here was put on hold due to Covid, which is why she took on the role at the helpline, demonstrating her commitment to helping those who need her support. 

  • North, East Midlands and East of England 

Grace Mitchelmore, HMP Nottingham Family Services 

The main role of Pact at HMP Nottingham is within the Visitor Centre and the volunteers provide support with booking in visitors, administration, security audits and public protection. Grace has been a key member of the team throughout the Covid visiting period, giving visitors the correct guidance and support when they come to the prison. She has also been involved in a Covid testing pilot scheme, which has been really important to visitors who want to have contact with their loved ones. She takes her role seriously and has had a big impact on visitors to the prison. Grace is always on time and willing to work extra days where she is needed. She has been volunteering since July 2020 and has given 30 hours a week to volunteering at the prison. 

  • London and the South East 

Jess Tooley, Family Engagement Worker, HMP Belmarsh  

Jess began volunteering with Pact in 2018 at the age of 18, with no experience but a passion for the prison service and helping those affected by imprisonment. Over the last 3 and half years she has contributed to Pact in a wide variety of roles. She has wrapped and sorted hundreds of presents for children with a parent in prison, supported prisoners through casework, provided refreshments in the visitors’ centre, supported the helpline during lockdown and has been part of a group who produced a newsletter to inform visitors and families of any changes to the service. Jess comes to her volunteering with a big smile on her face and a positive attitude to start the day. She is always willing to help with any task and is a highly valued member of the team

Emma Kershaw and Heather Greaves

Emma Kershaw

Emma joined the Family Resettlement Team at HMP Preston and Lancaster Farms last year, completing casework and assessments once a week. When lockdown started, Emma continued her volunteering efforts, increasing her time given to 5 days a week, all while raising 3 young children at home! She delivered workshops online and offered support to service users over the phone, supporting one service user to regain contact with his young child. Emma has made great relationships with agencies such as Shelter, Minds Matter and the Probation Service. One probation officer describes her as swift and proactive and that her knowledge helps to keep cases moving and come to a quick resolution. Emma is truly passionate about the work she does and the support she gives to service users. 

Heather Greaves 

Heather has been a Family Support Worker at HMP Onley for a number of years and is an extremely valued member of the team. Her commitment to the visiting families is second to none and she is always a welcoming face to families old and new. Heather’s understanding of the needs of families going through the struggle of having a loved one in prison enables her to give support and guidance on practical and emotional issues. During the pandemic, it was uncertain whether Heather would continue her role due to her age, but she said that “our families need us now more than ever” and has continued her role at the visitor centre. She has been vital in helping families, especially children, understand and feel comfortable with the new rules so that they can get the most out of their visit. 


Watch the Awards Presentation here: