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© 2019 Hampshire Media

  • Editor

Rotary group to fund prison counselling service in 2020

On 24th January, Winchester Rotary President Mike Billington and ‘Friends of the Family’ Chair of the Trustees, Karen Hazlitt visited Winchester Prison to learn about the ‘Dads’ Counselling’ work being undertaken with prisoners nearing their release date.


Friends of the Family have been funding a professional counsellor at the prison for more than four years, but when a funding gap appeared for 2020, they contacted Winchester Rotary to seek help. Winchester Rotary have now come forward with funding to keep the service running through 2020.

The visitors met Prison Governor James Bourke and Deputy Governor Susie Richardson.


Governor James said: “We know the power of family to help prisoners desist from crime. I am delighted that HMP Winchester is benefiting from the generosity of the city’s Rotary Club, who fund via Friends of the Family, our counsellor Charlie Wright. This work provides bespoke interventions for fathers in prison and after release into the community. The hope, trust and advice provided by Charlie leads prisoners away from crime, preventing victims and bringing normality to troubled families”.


Karen Hazlitt said: “We are delighted that Winchester Rotary have agreed to fund this work in 2020 with a grant to Friends of the Family towards Charlie’s counselling costs for 2020. In addition, Spurgeons are funding Charlie’s travel costs when he visits dads once they have been released to help them settle and reunite with their families. Charlie offers mentoring to prisoners who are close to release in order to develop trust and confidence in the counselling process and to support their ability to reunite with their family once released.”


Rotary President Mike said: “The prison has a significant presence in our community and when we heard of the possible loss of the important counselling role Charlie provides, we were extremely happy to offer funding to ensure the service is able to continue to the end of 2020.”



Deputy Governor Susie Richardson, Friends of the Family Chair of Trustees Karen Hazlitt, Winchester Rotary President Mike Billington, Winchester Rotary Community Service Chair Ian Valentine, Counsellor Charlie Wright, and Winchester Prison Governor James Rourke.