On the afternoon of Tuesday 20th July 2021, FOPP volunteers were able to meet up in person for the first time since before the Coronavirus pandemic appeared. On a hot, rather humid day, the group met for the usual drinks and cakes (actually, puddings on this occasion!) sitting on the terrace of the Boathouse pub/restaurant. Fortunately, we were all able to find tables with sunshades, which served as umbrellas when a threatened thunderstorm briefly sprinkled us with a few drops of cooling rain. After a good long chat and face-to-face catch-up with friends, those with the energy rounded off the afternoon by taking a gentle stroll through the woods alongside the rowing lake.
We hope to arrange our next group gathering in October. This is usually a formal FOPP meeting where we discuss FOPP finances, introduce new volunteers and have a briefing on prison matters from the Prison Director. This year, as FOPP volunteers have still not been able to go into the prison, we may opt for a rather more informal format. Further details to follow nearer the time.
Sodexo announced today that HMP Peterborough is taking part in a pilot scheme called “Test & Hug”, which will allow residents to embrace visitors as long as they both test negative for Covid-19 on the day of the visit. The full statement from Sodexo is available to view on our Lockdown in Prison page.
An announcement on the Sodexo official prison website today explains that the prison will not be lifting restrictions on July 19th in the same way as in the rest of the community. The full text of the announcement can be seen on our Lockdown in Prison page.
It is with great sadness that we must report the death of one of our employees, Mary Malcolm, our Tea Bar Assistant. In addition to this role, Mary also volunteered for a number of organisations, including FOPP, the Samaritans and Family Fund. She was a familiar face within the prison and will be missed by many.
Mary’s funeral was held today at Peterborough Crematorium. All of us in FOPP send our condolences to Mary’s family.
From Tuesday 1st May 2021, residents will be permitted to hug visitors who are under the age of 11. It will also be permissible for people from two different households (family or friends) to make a combined visit, but the limit on the number of visitors per session will remain at 3 people.
FOPP Volunteers are used to helping “Residents” in HMP Peterborough. But an article in The Times newspaper yesterday reported that the Prisons Minister has told prison officials to stop calling inmates “Residents”, “Clients” or “Service Users” and refer to them simply as “Prisoners”. It will be interesting to see if/when this policy is introduced by Sodexo in HMP Peterborough.
Although the social distancing rules have been relaxed from today (17th May 2021) in the general community, this does not apply to prisons. A statement on the Sodexo prison website explains:
“You may have seen on the news that close families and friends will be allowed to have physical contact from Monday, May 17. The government has also said that there are some places where social distancing has to stay in place because there is still too much of a risk of coronavirus spreading. Prisons are environments where the virus can spread quickly and we sometimes need to take a different approach to the community.
For the time being, the current guidance is that social distancing between family and friends will need to continue in all prisons in England and Wales. This is so that we can allow in-person visits to take place and be confident that we can keep you and your loved ones safe.”
Sodexo have announced that social visits on the male side of the prison will resume from Monday May 17th 2021. This will coincide with the re-starting of some elements of the normal work regime for residents.
A message on the Sodexo official prison website has given another Covid-19 update in which it states that social visits to female residents will be resumed from Monday 19th April. Unfortunately, because of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, it will not be possible to re-start social visits for male residents at this time.
Today, 24th March 2021, the official Sodexo prison website carried a Covid-19 Update on the anniversary of the first national lockdown. The statement can be found on our Lockdown In Prison page.