Prisoners in Maghaberry have been making specialist furniture and equipment to assist children in a Lisburn special needs school with their education and learning.
Colourfully painted reading easels, miniature chairs and tables and even a sensory frame for wheelchair-bound kids have been produced in the prison’s Donard Gardens workshop for Parkview Special School at Brokerstown Road.
Workshop Manager David Strain said: “The project with Parkview Special School came about as a result of a visit by Principal James Curran to Maghaberry.
“He was especially impressed with the work we do at Donard and asked if we could help out in creating a walkway in a wooded area at the school where the children could get close to nature. It developed from there, and we were able to provide bird boxes, insect farms and planters.
“Since then we’ve also made reading easels, miniature chairs and tables and special sensory frames for kids who are in a wheelchairs.”
Maghaberry Governor Phil Wragg added: “The Donard Gardens workshop is a therapeutic facility for prisoners who suffer mental health issues. We have up to a dozen attending on a daily basis and it has proved very successful. Prisoners feel valued and they get a lot from knowing they are able to help others on the outside.
“The project with Parkview School is just one of many ways in which Maghaberry Prison interacts with the local community.”
Parkview Special School Principal, James Curran said: “From my initial visit to Maghaberry I was impressed with the clear dedication of the staff to ensuring the prisoners were given the opportunity to improve others’ lives whilst developing lifelong skills, the quality of the workmanship is fantastic.
“Every pupil has benefitted from the partnership: resources for classrooms; specific items for particular children; and, pieces that enhance the school environment make this a hugely valuable partnership for our school.”
Notes to editors:
- Prisons Week runs from 15-21 November 2015
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