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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Reflecting on Stronger Together, our event for and with families affected by imprisonment 


Families Together recently held a day of listening, learning and... fun!

On Saturday, 8 June, Families Outside came together with families affected by imprisonment and invited professionals for Stronger Together: our free event for and with families affected by imprisonment.

The day was an opportunity for us all to gather in a safe and inclusive space to connect, learn and have fun!

Attendees were greeted upon arrival by the friendly faces staffing the welcome desk where they could sign up for workshops, receive their welcome bags containing helpful resources and an outline of the day ahead, and even collect free raffle tickets.

While eating breakfast pastries, this was the first opportunity attendees had to look around the market hall area that ran throughout the day with information about Families Outside’s work, visits services, other services that provide support to families affected by imprisonment, a wellbeing area with information about services and the opportunity to receive a complementary hand massage or reiki as well as a dedicated area for children and young people. 

The scheduled activities kicked off at 10:30am with a warm welcome from Sam, Connecting Families manager, and Rose, a family member, who launched the group into a game of people bingo to help us all break the ice. Stall holders also had the opportunity to briefly discuss what their stall covered for the day. 

After that, we all had an opportunity to reflect on how we were feeling, what we would like to get from the day, our strengths, and what Stronger Together means to us. Rose shared her answers with the room before we wrote ours onto post it notes which we stuck to a board. 

A family member said: “We really enjoyed the drama with Jess. She was clever at thinking through games that appealed to the mixed audience that she had. It never felt hurried or rushed and everyone was so helpful and supportive”.

This was followed by a short break and the opportunity to attend one of the workshops, the conversation café, or do your own thing. In one breakout room, attendees participated in drama with a focus on connection led by Jess, lecturer in the arts in justice, while in the other room, folk got together for: 'young people affected by imprisonment – what I wish I knew then, and what I want you to know now’. 

Following a much-needed lunch, attendees headed into the afternoon’s activities. There was the choice to participate in the second conversation café of the day or head upstairs to a reflective crafting workshop offering an opportunity for peer support, or a session on participation, which focused on how family members can become more involved with our work.

While all this was going on, there were lively games and activities kicking off in the kids’ corner, including an enthusiastic game of dragon school! After another break filled with tea, juice and biscuits, some of the younger attendees helped to draw the raffle winners. Congratulations to those who went away with chocolate, cinema tickets and a £50 Amazon voucher!

As the day drew to a close, we all came together for reflections. We answered questions similar to those of the morning, around how we were feeling at the end of the day, what we got from the day, and again thinking about our strengths and what Stronger Together means to us. And before we knew it, the day was over, and we were saying goodbye. As we did so, attendees were able to take items from the self-care table including bath bombs and hot chocolate kits as well as any leftover snacks from lunch.  

We’ve received great feedback on the tone and the feel of the day, including one of the invited professionals who told us they felt that ‘the energy in the room was lovely’ and one of our staff members reflected that ‘the atmosphere created on the day was one of calm, safety and unity’. This is largely down to the families who determined how the day would look and feel, by completing our survey and engaging in event planning participation sessions. Families spoke, and we listened.  

In the words of some of the young people who attended, ‘can we go back tomorrow!’ 

Jazmine Bennett is training and events coordinator for Families Outside. To learn more about the work Families Outside does, visit

Families Outside offers training for professionals, and our next sessions are running in September. For more information and to register your place click here -



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