Prison Community Days

Earlier this year IOM’s SToMP received funding to hold several Prison Community Days in all Welsh Prisons, in recognition of prisoners who had served in HM Armed Forces. Veteran support charities attended the events to offer continued advice and support.

HMP Parc, Usk and Berwyn took part in the HMP Rye Hill challenge which saw contestants cycle the 284-mile distance from London to Paris via the WW1 Battlefields of the Somme, rowing the distance from Dover to Dunkirk (284 miles) and running or marching the distance from the Normandy D-Day beach landings to Paris (158 miles).

Many other events took place across the prisons, including an assault course challenge, military combat fitness test and community day at HMP Cardiff. The community day included an agency market place and guest speakers included Jim Davidson, Comedian and CEO of Care after Combat, as well as two serving Royal Marine Instructors.

HMP Parc hosted a walking football match between the Endeavour Unit and Change Step. HMP Parc won by such a landslide, the referee lost count of the score! Well done Team Parc! Veteran family days were also held, each attended by several charities and the Cor Meibion Choir. Staff and prisoners donated items for a food bank collection.

HMP Usk held a partnership day in conjunction with other agencies and a family event was held at HMP Berwyn which included a military band and veteran service stalls.

The community days were a success and had a positive impact on relationships between visitors, staff and offenders. This included those offenders that were not veterans and had been involved by cheering on and supporting participants.

One Veteran said:

 ‘I found the community day brilliant and it was the first time I was allowed to walk around with my son and interact with him…marketplace [was] helpful to look at what is on offer for veterans. I felt I was treated like a human and valued. I left the event with a smile, it made me feel happy’

 It is now hoped that these events are run as an annual challenge across prisons in Wales with a cup to be awarded to the winners.


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