What we've been up to this month:

"The day I left HMP Stocken, I was saying my goodbyes. On my wing there was a SO who had been around throughout my sentence. I went to seek him out, to thank him for all that he had done for me. ‘It’s a relief to see you walking out of here, for a long time a lot of us believed that you would be going out in a body bag,’ he said, as he shook my hand.

I had found prison life challenging to say the least. For the first 18 months I was completely suicidal. There were many things that contributed to getting me through my sentence, not least of all the support of my family and friends and the professionalism of the prison staff. One of the turning points was when I became involved with editing for Storybook Dads.

The lads had said to me, 'find something that takes your mind out of here, once you do you will be fine.’ How right they were. For me, it was editing those stories. When I put the headphones on, I became so engrossed focussed on the job in hand that I wasn’t in prison for those precious few hours. For the first time in ages I heard people saying, ‘good job mate’, and ‘thanks for what you did with my kids story he/she loves it.’ Sometimes I was given sweets and coffee.

I saw first-hand the impact that Storybook Dads has on those who use the service and it made a lasting impression on me.

Upon release, I was resettled in an unknown town. At first, I was very isolated. The days stretched endlessly so I volunteered for Storybook Dads to do some editing from home.

Fast forward to the present day, I have a viable reference. Better still there is a possibility of some paid work with Storybook Dads. I continually bless the day that I became involved. The team have not only given me a reason to get out of bed, but their warmth, friendship and compassion have supported me as I have readjusted to life beyond the walls."