Friday 30th May 2014
A successful support day for over 100 family members of prison inmates was held at the Rainbow Theatre HelpCentre in Finsbury Park on Saturday, 24 May.
Organised by the UCKG HelpCentre’s Rescue of Dignity (ROD) group, the event used a combination of short drama pieces, written especially for the event, legal and specialist speakers and voluntary helpers to inform and support the families who attended.
Mini drama scenarios were performed by members of the UCKG HelpCentre’s Victory Youth Group (VYG), dealing with aspects of the relationship between inmates and their families. The emotive drama introduced the Smiths, a family who had a member in prison, portraying known issues and struggles that families go through whilst their loved one is in prison.
ROD group leader, Charles Ajorgbor said: “Drama is a powerful way to illustrate particular experiences and there were some tears amongst the audience. We were able to show participants how they can support their family members in prison, and that we are all here for them as a community.”
Mark Onwumere from the VYG, said: “Today I helped out by playing the role of a Dad who was locked up. I can relate to it personally because I have been to a trial and I know how it feels to be a part of that process. Maybe my Dad, if he had had the help of ROD, wouldn’t have gone through what he did. It’s not just the parent who’s not in prison, it’s the parent in prison who is also suffering, so we need to take that into account as well.”
123 people attended, mainly from North London, though some were from other parts of Greater London.
Vincent Newell from North London has a family member who is currently in prison. He said: “This event has helped me to open my mind and I would definitely recommend it to a friend or to anyone who has family who is currently in this situation.
The plays were followed by expert guest speakers, Vitella Thompson, a solicitor, Kerrin Leoni from Families First, and speakers from Rescue of Dignity. Refreshments were served after a Q&A session
Notes to editors
UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort and welcomes all-comers. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.
The Rescue of Dignity (ROD) Group comprises volunteers from UCKG HelpCentres congregations who support prisoners and their families throughout the UK. The volunteers write to and visit inmates in prison with the objective of helping them to turn their lives around; and also provide support for the families who are left behind, often to struggle.
The UCKG HelpCentre’s youth group, VYG, is a major long term priority. Designed for 15 – 23 year olds, the VYG provides the same family-style peer group support that attracts young people to gang life, but without the destructive behaviours. Rather, it helps and encourages the young to be the best that they can be.
For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org