An aim of The Brothers Trust is to help charities who might struggle to attract publicity and the income that comes with this.
This might be due to their size and/or that their cause is not so fashionable.
Which is why we are delighted to be able to support a charity called Storybook Dads – which we did with an initial grant of £10,000.00
If I can briefly explain why we made this grant…
Put in its simplest terms, Storybook Dads allows prisoners to read bedtime stories to their children – via recorded CD’s.
Prison is not an institution many of us are familiar with. Prison is something that happens to other families and to other people but this does not mean that we should ignore the plight of prisoners and their families.
The charity is underpinned by the importance of family and how vital it is to keep an attachment with the dad (or the mum) while they are incarcerated.
The recordings of a parent reading to their child can be a lifeline and a vital link between the prisoner and their family.
Statistics show that prisoners who keep in contact with their families are 6 times less likely to re-offend.
From the prisoners perspective, there is so much to gain. A set of new skills in recording and editing. A sense of achievement and the boost to their self-esteem, knowing that they have made their child happy and proud in their absence.
And for the child…
Everyone knows that reading stories to a child is the best building bloc and start in life. Something I took for granted as a child and did naturally for our boys.
Imagine the hurt a child feels at having a parent taken away and the adverse impact this can have on the child’s development and future? Storybook Dads with their simple, but brilliant idea sets to bridge this gap that prison causes.
Is prison a punishment? A deterrent? Or a correctional facility?
An age old question that is never adequately answered. All of the above I guess. But where we can agree is that families blighted by crime and prison are very often at the bottom of our societies and caught up in a vicious cycle that repeats itself.
Breaking this cycle is an improvement for us all – and connecting incarcerated parent and child is a small step in the right direction.
As well as the benefits to parent and child of the recorded story, the charity has greater ambitions also and particularly in the field of training and development.
The charity has funded and trained over 600 prisoners to develop editing, recording, audio and video production skills. 20 UK prisons now have their editing facilities – offering prisoners vital training and a chance to improve their life chances on their release.
The charity now employs 20 ex-prisoners as editors at its head office – where CD’s from 120 UK prisons are produced by prisoners for their children. In 2017, over 5000 CD’s were produced, each treasured no doubt, by the children receiving them.
And finally, literacy skills!
Perhaps the most fundamental learned skill of them all and something we all take for granted.
But a great many prisoners are illiterate which blights their life chances considerably.
The difficulty this poses to reading a story are obvious but something this brave charity can accommodate. And in involving the parent in the education and literacy of their children, in-turn, the literacy deficiencies of the parent are addressed also
The charities that attract the most income are the ones with tangible illnesses. Life limiting illnesses and particularly indiscriminate diseases that could visit us.
Storybook Dads does not sit in this sector at all. Prisoners are locked away so that the law abiding can get on with our lives.
Any civilised society feels a need to help people who are less advantaged in life. But not just with handouts. In a fashion that empowers them to help themselves with dignity and pride.
Storybook Dads does precisely this. And mums, I add again. They are in fact active in 10 women’s prisons in the UK.
And why The Brothers Trust is proud to be able to support them.