Every year, 200,000 children suffer the distress and heartache of losing a dad, mum, brother or sister due to imprisonment. These children often live in poor households, with a parent or carer who is often forced to relocate, and who themselves may be struggling to cope. Many of these children are dealing with shame, embarrassment, stigma and loneliness.

Pact and Caritas Westminster are working together to ensure that these kids get the best possible Christmas.

Our project is simple.

We invite parish communities to donate toys, books and other items, that would appeal to the wide range of children supported by Pact through our Family Visitors' Centres services. These services are outside prisons and provide a safe haven and support to families who are visiting loved ones inside.

Operation Christmas Elf involves volunteers arranging for these gifts from the parishes to be collected and taken to Pact’s ‘Santa’s Grotto’, which is a room we have set aside in our Family Visitors’ Centre in East Acton (outside HMP Wormwood Scrubs).

Here, volunteers will sort the gifts and organise their delivery to our Family Visitors Centres in and around London (including our centres in Hertfordshire, and Surrey), based on lists provided by Pact staff in each centre of the number and ages of children using the services. This ensures that children receive gifts that they will love and enjoy.  

If you would like to bring a smile to a prisoners' child this Christmas, have spare time in November and December and have access to transportation, get in touch with us today! 

You can find out more about the role and requirements by clicking here, and contact us on [email protected] for more details.