Marsh Award for Work with Children Affected by Parental Imprisonment (CAPI)

This Award recognises individuals, groups, or volunteer-led projects, providing support to children with a parent in prison and helping to raise awareness of the issues faced by these young people.

In its initial year, the Award recognised volunteers within Barnardo’s who worked with Children at Risk as a result of parental imprisonment.

Nominations are made via Barnardo’s and judged by a panel consisting of Barnardo’s and MCT representatives.

Pictured above: Sophie Stanley, 2011 winner of the Marsh Volunteer of the Year Award for work with Children


Karen Whitaker 2018

Karen is an invaluable volunteer, offering family support within the Essex CAPI Service. She especially supported a family where the father had committed offences as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. She provided support to the family during the court hearing, put the father in contact with veteran charities and liaised with the British Legion to put benefit support and housing options in place for the family. Karen was a vital support to the Mum and two daughters throughout the ordeal, particularly around Christmas. She has also given support on a number of child protection cases and has become a highly valued member of the team.

Previous Winners

Paula Van Der Meulen

Paula has been a valued member of the volunteer team at HMP Erlestoke since 2013 and goes above and beyond in her role supporting offenders and their families. She works on a one to one basis with offenders who are experiencing family issues and those who have not had contact with their children since coming into prison. Paula is adept at working with social services and has been successful in putting many offenders back in touch with their families, thanks to her persistence, determination and care.

Bonnie Soroke and Anne Dawson

Bonnie and Anne work with the Family Play Support Team at Maghaberry Prison, where they support parents during the contact time that they have with their children on Family Visit Days. They also run activities such as arts and crafts, story time and homework clubs to help parents maintain and improve their relationships with their children while they are in prison.

Bonnie and Anne aim to create an atmosphere during the visits which is as ‘normal’ as possible for the families, observing where their intervention is needed and offering support when necessary but in a way that does not make the parents feel inadequate.

During Volunteers’ Week, Bonnie and Anne spoke at the Regional Office to an audience, which included senior management, about their experiences at Maghaberry Prison to help raise awareness about the value of volunteers in this environment.