Maghaberry prisoners have embraced the gift of giving at Christmas by donating cash from their fundraising efforts during the Covid pandemic to an autistic children’s charity.
Maghaberry Prison Deputy Governor David Savage recently visited the Newtownards Branch of the National Autistic Society to present a cheque for £5,185, proceeds of prisoners’ recycling and catering fundraising efforts. He also delivered a number of Christmas Trees made out of recycled wood, for families involved with the Autistic Society.
Prisoners throughout the maximum security facility were involved in recycling plastic cups and electrical waste during the pandemic, while others made tray bakes which were sold to staff. During a barbeque lunch hosted by prisoners to mark Hidden Heroes Day, staff also generously contributed to a charity collection.
David Savage said: “Prisoners at Maghaberry have shown a great enthusiasm and imagination with initiatives during the covid pandemic to support the community, and as a result I am delighted to present a cheque for this fantastic amount of money to the Autism Society.
“We have a very successful recycling facility inside Maghaberry and alongside the NVQ catering projects, they provide purposeful activities for many prisoners. I am very proud of the fundraising efforts of staff and prisoners.
“I know the money raised will be welcome in what has been a very difficult year for charities across Northern Ireland. Some of that donated will be used to create a unique children’s winter wonderland experience for autistic children, with the remainder assisting the society in its tireless work to provide support, guidance and advice for autistic children.”
Autism Society Chairperson Trudi Kildea said: “We are extremely grateful to the prisoners and staff at Maghaberry Prison for choosing to support the Autistic Society. The money raised will help with several costs including virtual interactive shows and virtual craft sessions for the kids.
“We have been trying to think outside the box to keep our autism families active and less isolated during Covid. This has been a particularly hard time for children who rely on routine and on our many activity groups and therapies which have obviously had to pause for now. The Newtownards Branch of NAS is run by 7 parent volunteers and receives no outside funding. All fundraising goes directly to help us continue to support over 250 families living with autism.”
Notes to editors:
1. PHOTO CAPTION: David Savage, Maghaberry Prison Deputy Governor, visited the National Autistic Society Santa’s Grotto at Newtownards to present a cheque for £5,185, proceeds of prisoners’ recycling and catering fundraising efforts. Included are Jasmine Savage, Trudi Kildea, National Autistic Society and her son Luke.
2. Maghaberry Prison is the only Category ‘A’ prison in Northern Ireland and also operates as a remand prison for all adult male prisoners in the country. It accommodates a range of sentenced prisoners such as life sentence, indeterminate and extended custody prisoners, separated prisoners, fine defaulters and civil prisoners.
2. Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email to: email@example.com
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4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.