Charity cafe opens at prison
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.”