Char­ity cafe opens at prison

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

VIS­I­TORS to a prison will en­joy a warmer wel­come thanks to a new cafe opened by char­ity vol­un­teers.

Barnardo’s Cymru has opened a café at the G4Srun HMP Parc, near Brid­gend, which will be staffed by mem­bers of the Brid­gend Sorop­ti­mists.

The char­i­ties hope pro­fes­sional vis­i­tors and the rel­a­tives of pris­on­ers, some of whom travel long dis­tances, will be able to buy drinks and snacks while they wait to en­ter the prison.

About 400 vis­i­tors a day pass through the Su­san El­lis Vis­i­tor Cen­tre which has been run by the chil­dren’s char­ity Barnardo’s Cymru on be­half of G4S for a num­ber of years.

G4S has built a con­ser­va­tory onto the vis­i­tor cen­tre and there are in­door and out­door play ar­eas.

Barnardo’s Cymru said it has wanted to open a not-for-profit café for some time and, thanks to vol­un­teers, it is able to make it a re­al­ity.

The Brid­gend Sorop­ti­mists, a branch of the world­wide vol­un­teer ser­vice which aims to im­prove the lives of women and chil­dren, has pre­vi­ously sup­ported the vis­i­tor cen­tre with gen­er­ous do­na­tions.

Its lat­est £1,200 do­na­tion will be spent on fur­nish­ing the con­ser­va­tory and pur­chas­ing toys. It has pre­vi­ously do­nated £1,000 which funded po­etry com­pe­ti­tions and rhyme time ses­sions run by Barnardo’s to help fa­thers in prison in­ter­act with their chil­dren.

Barnardo’s Cymru team man­ager Ceri Hill said: “Run­ning the vis­i­tor cen­tre is all about sup­port­ing fam­i­lies. Hav­ing a smil­ing face and help­ing hand to greet them is im­por­tant for the vis­i­tors and some peo­ple will re­ally open up to our staff.”

Project worker Claire Wil­liams said: “First-time vis­i­tors in par­tic­u­lar are of­ten anx­ious when they ar­rive and we try to help them re­lax.

“They may have trav­elled from as far away as Lon­don or Liver­pool. They may have anx­i­eties about how their rel­a­tives are do­ing in prison, so it will be good for them to be able to re­lax with a hot drink while they wait to visit.

“We may also be able to sign­post them to sup­port within their com­mu­ni­ties, such as Barnardo’s In­vis­i­ble Walls Ac­cord which works with schools and other agen­cies across South Wales to sup­port pupils with par­ents in prison.

“The Big Lot­tery­funded Ac­cord also helps bridge the com­mu­nity and prison di­vide.”

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