Recently, learners at HMP Risley and HMP Styal had the exciting opportunity to take part in the 'Welcome' project from the Little Angels theatre production.
HOME Manchester were given the opportunity to host the 'Welcome' project at 12 of their community groups, giving us two of them which we ran at HMP Risley and HMP Styal.
Each site arranged a family learning day where learners could interact with their children and spend time with them during the day. On each of the family days the sites:
- Ran and hosted the show.
- Did craft activities.
- Gifted books for families to enjoy.
- Provided refreshments.
The show was written and performed by the Little Angel theatre and was developed by children from refugee and migrant backgrounds, who had attended the Welcome drama club in London. The show has a non-verbal narrative, so was accessible for all families regardless of their ability to hear or understand spoken English.
The story, 'The magic sketchbook' follows a little girl who arrives in a new country and makes friends through the magic of drawing. The show explores themes of friendship, communication, and the word 'welcome'.
Both family days were a huge success among learners and enjoyed by everyone who attended. Positive feedback was received across the board, with lots of appreciation and gratitude. One learner from HMP Styal commented positively on the experience:
I feel that the family day was great. My mum and 5 year-old daughter attended. The day was fun and exciting, especially for the baby, she had an amazing time. The snowball fight was her favourite. Thank you to the education team for providing this.
Research indicates that maintaining close family ties with families whilst in prison significantly reduces reoffending. Providing opportunities and events like the family day, helps to nurture those family relationships and maintain the connection so that learners have the support from their family post-release.