New youth zone set up at county prison

Liz Arthur, Northumberland visitors' centres' team leader and new youth worker Kayleigh Nugent in the new youth zone.
Liz Arthur, Northumberland visitors' centres' team leader and new youth worker Kayleigh Nugent in the new youth zone.

A charity which supports children with a parent or relative in prison has received a funding boost to help expand the service into HMP Northumberland.

Thanks to funding from the likes of the Wellesley Trust and the High Sheriff of Northumberland, Nepacs has been able to start a youth zone at the Acklington jail, as well as recruit youth worker Kayleigh Nugent.

Youth zones allow young people to find a safe place to relax while waiting for their visit and share their thoughts.

The funding has enabled Nepacs – which also receives financial support from BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief – to buy games and furniture for the new youth zone, which will be open for young people visiting their imprisoned parent or relative at HMP Northumberland on weekends and during school holidays.

A group of young people who were visiting the prison worked with the Nepacs team in the visitors’ centre to share their ideas on what should be available in the youth zone and went shopping with the team to buy items.

The new Nepacs youth worker for HMP Northumberland will coordinate activities for young people waiting to go into visits, provide activities in the visits hall and organise transport and accompany young people in regional youth project activities.

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “Young people who have visited HMP Northumberland had told us that they would like an area designed for older children with age-appropriate games and activities, and somewhere they can go to have some space while they wait for their visit.

“We are delighted to have received this funding, as it will enable us to develop the youth project at the prison.”

The youth project is recruiting volunteers to the project. Email volunteering@nepacs.co.uk or visit www.nepacs.co.uk