Published on 05 April 2023

News Round-up – March

Spring is here and there’s plenty to look forward to here at Ormiston Families.

March saw us working hard to raise awareness of our services and generate much-needed funds to support those in need.

Here’s a round-up of what has been going on.

Improving family ties in prison thanks to Dylan’s story – March 10

This month saw the launch of the Dylan Project at HMP Norwich – a scheme to make a child’s visit to see a loved one in prison less traumatic.

Dylan, and his dog Lola, are two specially-designed animated characters who can answer any questions that a child or young person may have before they visit a prison environment for the first time.

Dylan’s story about visiting his dad in prison is available for young people to read on our website, and there is also the chance to ask Dylan any questions – all of which are answered by our trained Ormiston Families team.

When a child or young person reaches HMP Norwich, they will be greeted by a new installation featuring a colourful display of Dylan welcoming them to the visitor centre. Their route to the visits hall is then marked by Dylan’s footprints – designed to reduce anxiety and make the experience more comfortable.

This project exemplifies the work that we do at Ormiston Families. It’s about building and improving family relationships and working with children to make them feel at ease in difficult situations.

Following the launch at HMP Norwich, plans are in place for a planned rollout of the resources at other East of England prisons, including HMP Wayland and HMP Bure.

Thank you to fundraisers – March 21

Staff from Ormiston Families stand next to a display featuring information about the Breaking Barriers service.

Rebecca Adams, left, and Sarah McKinlay, right from Breaking Barriers.

We never take for granted the support that we receive from our volunteers and our funders. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to deliver the projects and work that we do.

Following the success of our Breaking Barriers campaign in Essex and Suffolk, we wanted to host a special “thank you” event for all of those who have kindly offered their support.

Held at Layer Marney Towers, near Colchester on 21 March, we had the opportunity to speak to supporters in person.

During the event, our Senior Practitioners Rebecca Adams and Sarah McKinlay were able to talk about the work of the services and discussed how we are continuing to support children affected by imprisonment.

Goodbye to our Chair, Robert Parkinson

Robert Parkinson

Robert Parkinson, who has stepped down as Ormiston Families chair.

After seven years, we have said goodbye to our Chair, Robert Parkinson who has stepped down to pursue fresh challenges.

Robert joined the Board in 2014 and during his time our turnover has grown from £4.4m to circa £10m. He has seen our services grow and expand and given us the encouragement to develop a variety of new initiatives which are making thousands of families feel safer, healthier and more resilient.

We’re very excited about our future, and we’re looking forward to the arrival of Gail Tolley who will take over the position of Chair.

Welcoming Lord Stuart Rose – March 31

Lady Xa Tollemache and Lord Stuart Rose sit in armchairs on a theatre stage in front of a projection of the Ormiston Families logo.

Lady Xa Tollemache and Lord Stuart Rose at Seckford Theatre in Woodbridge.

We ended March on a high by welcoming Lord Stuart Rose to Seckford Hall in Woodbridge for a fascinating evening.

Known for his illustrious 50-year career in business, Lord Rose is best known for taking the reins at Marks & Spencer and is now chairman of Asda.

During an hour-long audience with our President, Lady Xa Tollemache, Lord Rose regaled our audience with stories and insights from the retail sector. He spoke about the future of the British High Street, the influence of Artificial Intelligence over shopping and his take on the House of Lords.

Allan Myatt, Ormiston Families chief executive, said: “It was an inspiring evening and one which made me consider how we can all open the door for others and grab the opportunities that are put our way. Many thanks to Stuart for his support.”

Please keep checking on our events pages to see what else is coming up.

Could you help us?

We’re always looking for volunteers and supporters to help continue our work in the East of England.

If you would like to get involved, either by fundraising or volunteering, please get in touch. We’re always welcoming new supporters to help with existing events, or to share suggestions for new initiatives that will match our aim of helping families to feel safe, healthy and resilient.

Even small steps such as following us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) can be enough to help us spread awareness of the work that we do.