Hidden Voices is a toolkit of arts activities. It has been designed to help dads in prison reflect on the impact of their offending on their children at home. It is anticipated this programme will encourage men to give up on a life of crime.

How was it developed?

Children in North East England whose dads are in custody, have worked with professional musicians to co-create songs which openly share their experiences of seeing their dads go to prison and living with the situation day in day out.

Dads in HMP Kirklevington Grange listened closely to the songs and were inspired to work with them to co-design a 'kitbag' of creative activities. In turn these activities will be used with other dads in prison to stimulate conversations about underlying issues, reflect on behaviours, promote empathy, increase understanding and ultimately help rebuild family relationships and resililence.

The workshops were co-produced with the artists, with the young people, with prisoners and with staff from Nepacs and Helix Arts.

Helen Attewell, CEO at nepacs says:
“Hidden Voices has been an inspirational project for Nepacs. Helix Arts’ practitioners have been able to draw out the emotional impact of having a parent in prison through engaging young people in music and song. They have combined empathy and creativity to produce materials that will have a profound effect on attitudes and awareness.

“By including Hidden Voices in our highly regarded Heading Home programme we can encourage prisoners or offenders to think about how their children are feeling and the impact of their crime and the sentence on them.”  

For people who think they can’t sing or draw a straight line, the Hidden Voices toolkit is for them! Step by step guidance and clear timings makes it easy to use.

The pick ‘n’ mix modular structure allows for flexible delivery. Activities can be adapted and used with individuals as well as groups and with whole families.

Over time, you may wish to add to or enhance activities in different ways. Hidden Voices should be treated as a living, growing resource that will make a positive difference to the lives of parents, children and families for years to come.

Everything needed to deliver Hidden Voices is contained in one ‘kitbag’: 

  • Audio CDs with the Hidden Voices songs
  • Activity facilitator notes
  • Lyric sheets and worksheets
  • USB memory stick containing everything

Information on how you can request a free 'kitbag' is below. Or you can download the toolkit here.

The Hidden Voices project was evaluated by an independent researcher - Barefoot Research - in autumn 2017. The report is available here.

Interested in finding out more?

We have a small number of the Hidden Voices 'kitbags' available for professionals working within HMPPS, the voluntary sector and other agencies working with prisoners. If you would like to receive your free copy please complete this request form. Unfortunately the printed kitbags are in limited supply therefore we will consider your request and get back to you as soon as possible. 

For more information on Hidden Voices and to find out how you can use it, please contact nepacs on training@nepacs.co.uk or call 0191 332 3810.

Hidden Voices was made possible with grant funding from the Ministry of Justice and with the support of the Tees and Wear Reform Prisons. 

Delivered in partnership with Helix Arts, an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.