Ormiston: “It’s such a rewarding thing to do” – prison volunteer urges others to join her

Twice a month, just as she has for the past 16 years, grandmother Valerie Broom (pictured) leaves her detached home outside Dereham, and goes to prison.

Twice a month, just as she has for the past 16 years, grandmother Valerie Broom (pictured) leaves her detached home outside Dereham, and goes to prison.

As one of Ormiston Children's and Families Trust's longest-serving volunteers, she works to help families make the most of visiting parents serving sentences.

She is part of a team of 20 volunteers who work alongside trained nursery workers, running play sessions for children aged from two years up.

'I love it, I really do,' says Valerie.


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'We do lots of craft sessions with the children, and they are so polite and thankful.

'On special occasions we'll help to make Father's Day cards or Christmas cards that they can give to their dad.'

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With families travelling from as far as Birmingham or London to visit inmates, children can sometimes be tired and tricky customers when they arrive.

'They've often had a long journey when they get to us, and then the visit can be a long time to sit around as well,' says Valerie.

'We have an area set up to one side so that they can play with us or take the toys back over to their parents to play with.'

Valerie, a retired jewellery shop worker, has followed in the footsteps of her mother, who previously volunteered at HMP Norwich.

'The idea of going in and being with the prisoners is not a problem for me at all, and it shouldn't be for anyone else who wants to volunteer.

'It's a pleasure to go in. It's such a rewarding thing to do, and it's lovely to think that you can help them at what could be a difficult time.'

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