Magilligan prisoners and staff become guide runners for partially sighted in prison Parkrun

Date published: 27 March 2023


Staff and prisoners became guide runners for visually impaired participants of the weekly Parkrun in Magilligan Prison at the week-end.

After several weeks of training with members of the Royal Institute for the Blind Northern Ireland (RIBNI), the guides and their partially sighted runners successfully completed the 5k event within the grounds of the prison near Limavady.

Alan Platt, Deputy Governor and an active Parkrunner: said: “A number of our staff and prisoners trained for several weeks to become guide runners, using blindfolds and SIM specs to prepare them for the event itself. It’s been fun and informative, they have responded brilliantly and invested in the project. They’re excited today to be participating.

Governor Platt continued: “This is all about supporting and challenging people in our care, to encourage self-esteem, physical and mental wellbeing throughout the journey of rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community.”

Visually impaired runner Tony Barclay said: “Offering to be a guide runner for someone with sight loss can be an extremely rewarding past time. As someone who is seriously visually impaired, sharing the joy of running with some prisoners and staff in Magilligan just brought a whole new level to the experience.

“Hopefully the prisoners will get something positive from this and perhaps when they are released and reintegrate in to society they will continue to help other visually impaired people.”

Notes to editors: 

1. Magilligan Prison is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve and who meet the relevant security classification.

2. Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email to:

3. Follow the department on Twitter @Justice_NI

4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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