Friends Of Guy Marsh
Crime wastes lives, harms others and costs us all: the average annual cost per prisoner in a UK Category C prison is £32,215 and the re-offending rate is high, with an estimated cost of between £9-£13 billion each year. We believe that by supporting the prison community near us, we can play a part in helping prisoners to return to a better, crime-free life on completion of their sentences.
In partnership with prison staff and other agencies, we work collaboratively and responsively to support prisoners, prison staff and prisoners’ families. Our projects are varied in scale and duration, some requiring significant financial expenditure, although it often only takes a well-targeted individual grant to set one person on his path towards effective rehabilitation and resettlement into society.
Aims and direction
To promote and support the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners who are or have previously been prisoners of Guys Marsh Prison and to support staff in their rehabilitative work.
Our main priority is to support the rehabilitation and eventual resettlement of the men. In line with this fundamental aim, we work to treat each man as an individual and to help him maintain his family relationships whilst he is at HMP Guys Marsh. FOGM strives to help each man to sustain his own family ties and to offer him rehabilitative courses so that he can become an independent citizen who belongs in the wider community when he is released.
The majority of our activities are focused in two main areas:
a) Prisoner related
Education and training – providing otherwise unavailable funding for successful educational and training programmes which address behavioural/attitudinal issues, addictions, and employment and occupational skills.
The Jailhouse Café – in the interest of prisoners’ training in catering and hospitality we give our support to the Café when required.
Prisoner requests – help for prisoners during their sentence and after release is available if deemed appropriate by the committee in consultation with prison Management.
Guidance information – helpful instructional leaflets are updated on a variety of subjects as guidance to queries.
b) Prisoner/Family related
Nordcat bus – Prior to the pandemic, we provided otherwise unavailable direct transport transport between Gillingham railway station and the prison. This service is currently no longer running but please use the Contact form if you have a specific enquiry regarding transport.
Visitor Centre – Committee members and FOGM Friends, ably assisted by the Mothers Union, provide a warm welcome and light refreshments for Friday and Saturday visitors. Toys and games are also made available.
Family Days – Working in conjunction with Barnardo’s, Family Days are held regularly in the Prison’s gym. These five-hour sessions, with masses of games and activities involved, allow for genuine bonding to take place between all members of the family.
Please note that Family Days are organised from within the prison where prisoners are chosen to attend from those whom are deemed most likely to benefit and places are limited in number. Those that do attend are thus by invitation only at the discretion of the prison governor. So it is not possible to apply for or request a Family Day .
Our Committee meets monthly to consider applications for funding and to report on and drive current initiatives. The committee, comprised of a number of trustees, is guided by members of the prison’s senior management team and the men themselves in order to inform and frame FOGM’s activities. We have vacancies for members prepared to take on active, but not too demanding, roles on our committee. Please contact us for further information.
Mrs Anthony Pitt-Rivers CVO DL
Dr Fay Weldon CBE
Simon Hoare MP
Giles Feran – Chair
Annie Henschel – Secretary
Ann Davis-Penson – Treasurer