PlayBoard’s Training Development & Delivery Team have been delivering a play package to staff and prisoners in Magilligan Prison. The package consisted of a half day training session for prison staff and two interactive workshops for fathers housed in the prison.

Organised by Barnardo’s NI and funded through the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Prison Service Resettlement Branch, the package was designed to:

  • Enhance the knowledge of prison staff on the importance of play and how best to support enhanced play opportunities for children during visits
  • Enhance the knowledge of prisoners around the importance of play for their children
  • Build the confidence of prisoners to play with their children during visits and upon release
  • Promote practical ideas for play during visits and upon release.

The interactive play awareness workshops for fathers proved very popular with the programme making an impact on building positive relationships within families. Attendance and input in the sessions helped improve the confidence of the dads to engage in play with their children during visits and upon their release, as well as enabling the staff to best support the fathers to do this. Participants had the opportunity to engage in loose parts play and practical games, brainstormed ideas to enhance the play with their children during visits, and gained practical play ideas.

PlayBoard previously delivered a play programme pilot to fathers in Maghaberry Prison and to mothers in Hydebank Prison through the Department of Education funded Play Matters project. This was followed by further delivery in Maghaberry Prison, organised through Barnardo’s NI.