This annual event, organised by the Volunteer Centre Dorset, was last held in early July 2019 in the gym at HMP Guys Marsh.
The aim is to showcase the different organisations and avenues of help available to the men to encourage their resettlement after their prison term. Overall, there were around 12 different stalls offering advice, information or just simply a chat for approximately 100 men over the two hour period.
Not surprisingly, the busiest stall was the tea and coffee closely followed by anyone offering bribes in the way of biscuits! However, all the representatives soon found themselves deep in conversation with the men, most of whom were genuinely interested to find out what was on offer.
This is a good way to spread the news about what FOGM can do and how we can help. Despite posters in the wings, introductions during the induction event and referrals from staff and Catch 22, as anyone who has worked with the prison will know, it’s a very dynamic and fast-moving environment so getting our name in front of the men is always a bonus.
Three FOGM trustees were able to be on site and connected with a number of the men. In some instances we were able to point them at other organisations more suited to their needs and we were all touched by one, JH, whom we’d been able to help with some tools and who made a point of coming to see and thank us for our trust in him. Here’s hoping his plans and dreams for the future with his family work out.
We left after a busy couple of hours knowing that not only had the men had a different afternoon experience from the usual but that they’d also had the opportunity to recognise they are not forgotten or ignored. Having this avenue of visibility spreads the word and helps us help them.