Angel Tree charity helps inmates' children get presents

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Media caption,

The charity helped provide presents for 4,800 children in 2018

Thousands of children with parents in prison will receive gifts this year, thanks to the work of a charity.

Angel Tree sent gifts to more than 4,800 children separated from parents in custody in 2018.

Prison chaplains and churches buy, wrap and deliver the presents while the parents includes a hand-written note.

The Crest Advisory Children of Prisoners report estimated there are more than 310,000 children in England with a parent in prison.

Prisoners who are allowed access to their children can apply for a gift to be sent to their children.

Among those who have benefited, Pete, an inmate at HMP Guys Marsh, said the scheme "meant the world" to him.

"Obviously at this time of year, without their dad it can be a bit upsetting for my children. It's not their fault and not fair on them.

"A little present and a card just shows I'm thinking of them."

Image caption,
Prison Fellowship chief executive Peter Holloway said the Angel Tree helped keep families together

Fellow inmate, Terry, said: "It helps me stay connected to my children at Christmas.

"You need hope. Sometimes prison can be a dark and lonely place so you need to have hope that there are other people on the outside that care.

"So that hope aspect is really important for rehabilitation."

Prison Fellowship chief executive Peter Holloway said: "We know that at Christmas time its important for families to stay together.

"Just because they are in prison, it doesn't mean they aren't mums and dads still and we want to help facilitate something very special for them at Christmas time."

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