November 8, 2023

Insights from Insights23: Why we hosted Parkrun at Feltham 

Michele Glassup
Head of ROTL & Resettlement
HMYOI Feltham

Michele Glassup thanks the staff and young men at Feltham for putting on a great event. 

Parkrun can have a hugely positive impact on those in custody. Insights23 seemed a great way to share this across HMPPS, and to encourage other sites to set up their own or support other custodial parkruns in their area. 

On a Sunny Saturday morning on 30 September, we welcomed staff from other prisons, probation, and approved premises to Feltham for our regular parkrun. We’ve invited visitors to our parkrun before, but this was the first one as part of HMPPS Insights. There were 33 finishers including 18 young men from Feltham who ran, jogged, or walked the 5K.  

It was the first time a few of the young men had joined us and they’ve already told me they are looking forward to the next time. One young man had spent several weeks building up to this, his first ever parkrun. I was so pleased to see the amazing support he received and how everyone was so pleased and proud of him when he completed the course. Another 12 young men volunteered to help with timekeeping, marshalling, and handing out finish token positions.  

After the run we spent time in the sports hall with refreshments provided by the kitchens. It was a great opportunity for the young men to speak with the guests about their journeys. Not only how they got involved with parkrun but also how they came to be in custody, and their hopes for a positive future.  

The event was eye opening for all involved. For the young men it was important to know there are members of the community willing to give up their time to come in and join the parkrun. The guests saw first-hand the positive impact parkrun and sport can have not only on physical health but also mental wellbeing.  

Thank you to all those behind the scenes who made a real team effort to put on the event. It wouldn’t have been the success it was without the support of so many departments including:  

  • operational support grades who helped host 
  • kitchens who laid on refreshments and cakes 
  • gym who co-ordinated the young men, and ran or marshalled 
  • the business community and engagement team who co-ordinated the visitors and logistics  
  • members of the SMT who ran, and 
  • the security department for clearing the guests 

We’ve already received positive feedback from several of the guests - all keen to continue supporting us as well as looking at custodial parkruns local to them to get involved with: 

‘’I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the three of you and to other staff and volunteers involved in helping me and other colleagues take part in Parkrun at Feltham on Saturday. I have been in need of a dose of inspiration and seeing the impact that the session had on everyone taking part definitely delivered that!’’
- Member of Probation staff 

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