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Invisible Walls Services Wins National Award

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Spurgeons’ Invisible Walls service at HMP/YOI Winchester has won the prestigious Children and Young People Now (CYPN) Family Support accolade.

The CYPN Awards, held in central London, also highly commended the service, which provides support to children and families affected by imprisonment, for its partnership work.

The Invisible Walls Family Support Service provides parenting support to fathers within the prison, as well as delivering advice and information through its visitors’ centre.

The service was shortlisted for the Family Support and Partnership Working awards after demonstrating its impact on families. Ensuring prison visits are a less stressful and more positive experience for children encourages more frequent visits and maintains family ties.

Judges from the CYPN Awards described Invisible Walls as “life-changing, innovative and outstanding”.

Stephanie Roberts-Bibby, Governor at HMP Winchester, commented: “The Spurgeons team do amazing work to support our men to be the best dad/family member they can. They work tirelessly to reduce the impact imprisonment has on children's lives. We're grateful for their energy, dedication, commitment and insight in helping the men at Winchester to change their lives.

“Their work has rightly been recognised by winning the Family Support category and receiving highly commended in the Partnership Working Category at this year’s Children & Young People Now 2016 Awards. These Awards acknowledge the difference the family days, homework club, parenting programmes and one to one work make to the children of those in prison and the men themselves.”

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Kerry Longhorn, Service Manager at Invisible Walls, added: “It’s a great honour to receive this prestigious award and commendation. The success of the Invisible Walls service is due to the hard work and commitment of the team, our dedicated volunteers and the ongoing support from Winchester prison governors and staff.

I hope the award will also help raise awareness of the significant number of children affected by imprisonment of a family member every year, but whose needs are often overlooked or not fully understood.”

Spurgeons’ work in prisons includes helping children, young people and their families to ensure that the cycle of inter-generational offending is broken. This includes: specialist support for children experiencing the loss of a parent through imprisonment, child-centred family visiting support, and family based intervention to help prevent offending and reoffending.

Invisible Walls is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

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