Although the scheme runs in over 100 UK prisons, Storybook Dads only directly employs volunteers at our Head Office in HMP Channings Wood. Other UK prisons make their own arrangements. Unfortunately not many of them use volunteers because of the restrictions involved in working at a prison.

Things to consider before applying:

  • The vetting procedure is complicated and lengthy – often taking weeks or months. There are also many rules, restrictions and guidelines involved in working in prisons which volunteers must learn and adhere to. For this reason it’s important that volunteers can commit to a minimum of a year – otherwise it’s simply not worth staff time training them.

  • Even after clearance, volunteers are rarely issued with keys so have to be escorted everywhere once inside. This is quite counterproductive and time-consuming – you may not even be able to get to the loos without an escort! As you can imagine it can be quite inconvenient for a busy prison librarian if they have to keep interrupting their work to escort someone.

  • It is also worth bearing in mind that prisons are non-smoking so once inside smokers would have to last all day…or ask to be escorted out. Also no mobile phones (or any electronic devices) are allowed.

The work is varied, interesting, challenging, sometimes frustrating, due to the restrictions of working within a prison, but always rewarding. If you are still interested in working with Storybook Dads:

Volunteer Vacancies             Other ways to Volunteer

"Storybook Dads is a great charity to work with and I gained many skills. Most importantly though, I went home at the end of the day knowing that I contributed to help parents to stay in touch and have a part in their child’s life.”