Children who have a parent in prison are rarely given the opportunity to share what for them is a deep emotional experience - but a new animated video has been created to help others understand exactly what children can face when they find themselves in this situation.
The youth team from north east charity Nepacs have worked collaboratively with Digital Me (a programme ran by Digital Voice) to provide young people impacted by the imprisonment of a loved one with a safe and creative way to share their story. The DigitalMe approach of animating their self-portraits helps them anonymously share their experiences of seeing their parent go to prison and living with that situation day in day out.
This project was delivered online with three young people, who are being supported by the Nepacs youth team. They came together once a week to create their individual animations and over the five weeks the group were able to learn more about themselves individually as well as develop new relationships with one another. As the voice of children and young people can often be overlooked this project allowed young people to find their voice, share their story and be heard.
The DigitalMe video will help other families in a similar situation understand how the children can best be supported and will also help to raise awareness of the impact of imprisonment on children and young people.
The video is available on the Nepacs youtube channel.
If you would like to get involved to help support our work with children impacted by imprisonment find out more about how to donate, fundraise or volunteer HERE.
Thanks to funding from Movement for Good award from Ecclesiastical Insurance Group the Nepacs youth team will be able to build on this digital art project and enable more children involved in the youth project to undertake innovative, guided, digital art-work projects, telling their stories and exploring their emotions through learning, and producing creative content highlighting their personal experience of having a parent in prison.
What our staff say
Comments from the youth workers involved in the project:
- "It has been an honour to be able to work closely on this project with the young people. I have been able to see the group come together, support one another and build up good friendships within the group. Each young person has shown bravery and has done incredible. There were moments of difficulty as the group explored painful areas of their stories but instead of giving up they kept pushing through. I am so proud of each individual who has been part of this project and how well they worked together as a group."
- "The Digital Me project was a fantastic experience to have been involved in and those young people who shared their personal experience of parental imprisonment were honest, open and incredibly brave throughout the whole process. What really stood out for me was how all of the young people were able to articulate their worries, hopes and aspirations for their futures in a mature and confident way and that they were able to offer advice for other young people who might be affected by the imprisonment of a loved one in the future."
What the young people and their families said
Following completion of the project the young people and their families came together to watch the final films at a celebration event which took place in September 2021. This is what they said:
- ‘Absolutely amazing. Everyone has done great – well done!’
- ‘I felt really upset and I have missed him so much.’
- ‘Inspired! All of the children showed great strength and courage. Well done!’
- ‘I felt very proud of my niece and all the children. They have done so well and this project has had the most positive effect on them and has helped them all deal with everything going on. Well done everyone.’
- ‘Emotional and it was upsetting. All of the children have done their families proud. Well done!’
- ‘I felt upset and sad. Well done everyone, you did great!’
- ‘Heartbroken, upset, sadness, overthinking.’
- ‘I am so proud of everyone who took part in the [Digital Me] project.’