Story Time Dads
Story Time Dads was pioneered by Marion Sherriff, member of Rochdale Inner Wheel, and Sybil Oakley, both Methodists and both ex-teachers of English. Two members from the Rotary Club of Rochdale, Dean Sherriff and Allistair Holt have also spent some time on the project as volunteers.
Story Time Dads, which began in 2004, enabled prisoners to choose a children’s story book and record themselves reading onto an audio tape. Once the prisoner was happy with the recording, both the book and the tape were sent home to their child/children so they could hear Dad reading to them. New books were purchased specially for the scheme.
In November, 2006, a donation from the Rotary Club of Rochdale enabled the equipment to be upgraded to produce DVD’s. Much to their delight, the children could then actually see Dad reading the story. The introduction of DVD’s resulted in much greater interest from the prisoners and excellent responses from the families. Other generous donations financed a replacement camcorder and a laptop (Rotary Club of Rochdale).
In 2014 Story Time Dads by the Rotary Club of Rochdale received the Val Scerri award for best Vocational Service project, 2013-2014.
Funding to replace the books comes from interested groups, such as local churches, private individuals and the prisoners themselves. The project is still continuing and will become active again once Covid restrictions in the prison have been lifted. To date nearly 700 DVD’s have been produced.
In the 2014 Buckley Hall Prison Ofsted report, the Inspector was so impressed with Story Time Dads, that he felt that it should happen in all prisons. He intended to recommend this to the “authorities”.