Back To All In:sight

Reknitting family ties

‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ Psalm 139:13

Our Maker formed us inside our mothers’ womb. And, whether our relationships with parents or carers are rocky, refreshing or something in between, it seems that God intended for us to have a connection with those who raised us.

For many young adults, maternal relationships are so strained that maintaining family ties can be difficult or even impossible. And prison can often become a barrier separating young people from their families and friends.

This year will be our thirteenth opportunity to roll out Angel Tree Mother’s Day, restoring and strengthening relationships between young adults in prison and their mothers or significant female carers. The programme gives young people in prison the chance to send a Mother’s Day gift and personalised message, to reach out and show gratitude to their mums and carers.

Last year, we were able to send 788 Angel Tree Mother’s Day cards on behalf of young adults from 26 different prisons in England and Wales. And this year, we are aiming to send even more!

The latest issue of Bromley Briefings from Prison Reform Trust highlights that there are currently 11,464 young adults in prison in England and Wales, accounting for 14% of the total prison population. These figures evidence the high number of young people who have been separated from their family by prison sentences.

Mental health concerns are also rising among young adults. Research suggests that young people accounted for almost a quarter (23%) of all self-harm incidents in prison in 2021. Prisons are unfamiliar places and those inside can often feel neglected and forgotten. Family connections can be a key factor in the rehabilitation of those in prison and, as the Bromley Briefings suggest, can help to enable successful resettlement upon release.

Our Programmes Co-ordinator, Tim Spargo-Mabbs, shares, ‘Angel Tree Mother’s Day comes almost straight after the busy-ness that is Angel Tree Christmas. It feels calmer somehow and just as special. Here, young people are expressing their thanks for the love and attention they have received from their parents / carers. It felt like the corollary of Angel Tree Christmas. This is how the love circulates between generations in a beautiful spiral dance.

‘It made me think of how much I owe my own mother and father, now sadly beyond my reach to tell. But it made me also determined to pay it forward instead to my son and to make the most of our relationship now he is an independent adult.’

Angel Tree Mother’s Day can help to strengthen the family ties that have often become unravelled because of prison. To some, a Mother’s Day card can be the catalyst in repairing these broken relationships and to help young people in making more significant changes in their lives, away from crime.

If you would like to help reconcile a young person in prison with their significant adult this Mother’s Day, please click here

This article was first published in our quarterly magazine in:sight. You can sign up to receive our free magazine by post or via email by visiting

“I can honestly say that I never had as much satisfaction when I worked as I do now as a volunteer.” — Arthur, Chaplaincy Support volunteer

Volunteer with PF

Volunteers are the life-blood of our organisation, and what they do in the lives of those in prison and as they pray, is incredibly valuable. If you are looking to use your time to support some of the most marginalised people in our society to transform their lives, then volunteering could be for you.

Find out more