Volunteers needed to help prisoners’ children in Banbury

Face-painting is just one of the activities the youngsters enjoy at the Children Heard and Seen sessions. Photo courtesy of the charity NNL-180407-111102001
Face-painting is just one of the activities the youngsters enjoy at the Children Heard and Seen sessions. Photo courtesy of the charity NNL-180407-111102001

A charity which provides support to children with a family member in prison is desperately looking for volunteers to keep running groups in Banbury.

Children Heard and Seen works to mitigate the effects of parental imprisonment on children, young people and their families across Oxfordshire.

The charity runs a monthly support group in Banbury and Oxford where the youngsters feel more comfortable sharing as well as meeting others in similar situations.

But more volunteers are needed in Banbury and founder Sarah Burrows urged anyone interested in helping these children to get in touch.

“Children of prisoners are an invisible group and I feel passionate they should be supported to fulfil their potential,” she said.

“Breaking the cycle of generational offending is not only a positive outcome for the child but for the community as a whole by reducing the anti-social behaviour and crime in their area.”

Since 2014, Children Heard and Seen has worked with more than 200 children in Oxfordshire and to date, no child that has gone through the programme has gone on to offend.

The charity works with children and families in three ways: one-to-one mentoring, group family days and prison days.

One mother who wished to remain anonymous said the support from Children Heard and Seen changed her son’s life.

“We felt lost, there was no one to turn to. We felt lonely, its an embarrassing thing to talk about and Children Heard and Seen has been life-changing for Luke. We’ve had proper support from real people,” she said.

A grandmother, who also did not want to give her full name, said: “We previously had received no support, I had been knocking on doors for 12-and-a-half years.

“I had no one and nothing, and then Children Heard and Seen found me, and it changed our lives completely.”

A support group in Banbury meets once a month for four hours on a Saturday but more volunteers are needed to help run the sessions.

Volunteers will need to be over 18, fill in an application form and are subject to a DBS check and safeguarding training.

To volunteer or to find out more email info@children
heardandseen.co.uk