Prisoners support victims group through sale of Christmas crafts

Date published: 21 December 2017


Prisoners at Hydebank Wood College have given a little something back this festive period, by selling their Christmas crafts in aid of Victim Support NI.

The crafts, including table centrepieces, ceramics and wooden gifts, jams and chutneys, were all handmade by prisoners at Hydebank Wood College and raised a total of £531.

The money was donated to Victim Support NI, a local independent charity that supports people who are affected by crime - both victims and witnesses.

Ronnie Armour, Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said: “As a prison service it’s our job to help make Northern Ireland safer by challenging and supporting the people in our care to change. Often we do this by supporting people to learn new skills, including art and crafts which can also provide an outlet for prisoners to explore their past, present and hopes for the future.”

He added: “But the Prison Service is also very aware of the impact crime has on those affected by it, both victims and witnesses of crime. By supporting people in custody to make Christmas crafts, which can then be sold to raise money for Victim Support NI, we’re allowing prisoners to understand the impact of their crimes and to give something back to the community.”

The prisoners’ work, currently on sale at the Northern Ireland Prison Service’s craft shop, The Barn, is handmade, grown and baked with products from the centre gardens.

Commenting on the work of the Prison Service to recognise the impact of crime on victims and witnesses, Geraldine Hanna, CEO of Victim Support NI, said: “Crime can have a devastating effect of people’s lives and the work of the Prison Service to inform and educate prisoners is invaluable.

“We are delighted to accept the money raised through The Barn Christmas crafts sale and will use the money to continue to provide emotional support and practical help to all victims, of all types of crime, across Northern Ireland.”

The Barn, which is open to the public, is open all year long and is located within the Shannon House complex at Hydebank Wood College.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Victim Support NI offer a free and confidential service, whether or not a crime has been reported, and regardless of how long ago the event took place. For more information on the services offered by Victim Support NI go to .You can also contact them via telephone - Belfast Hub (028) 90 243133; Foyle Hub (028) 71370086
  2. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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