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COMMENDEE 2011-12: Nominated by a prisoner and described by the Governor as “an outstanding man”, Salvation Army member Barry has been a valued part of HMP Kirkham’s chaplaincy for over 20 years.
[Barry Barrington gives his account of the work for which he was awarded a Commendation]
I work as a sessional Chaplain, covering all aspects of Chaplaincy work as required. In addition to work at Kirkham, I was for over thirty years at Lancaster Castle, which was very rewarding.
My particular role in HMP Kirkham is to organise and deliver bi-monthly live music evenings for the men. This involves liaising with music groups and artists outside the prison, booking their dates, liaising with security to obtain clearances and supervising the events on Friday evenings including publicity refreshments etc.
I have also provided a Saturday evening film night in Chaplaincy (now Entertainment night) on a weekly basis for up to 55 men each week. This activity is heavily over subscribed, especially in the winter months as there are only limited activities for the men on a weekend evening.
Again, I am responsible for setting out the room, supervising the men, and providing them with refreshments. So successful is this activity that I have had to develop a sophisticated booking system, which men are keen to avail themselves of from 2pm in the afternoon, to be sure of a good seat!
I have also been involved in Family Tracing through the Salvation Army, and have had some good successes in this area, leading to the transformation of some men’s lives.
I value my relationship with the men, who find that the events which I provide offer a place of support and friendship where often they are then willing to confide and seek help with family and personal difficulties. The degree to which this is appreciated is often shown when there is a family crisis or death where it has been a privilege to extend support by accompanying men to hospital visits or funerals.
[The following article appeared in issue 4 of the Butler Trust’s magazine, Inspire]
Barry Barrington of HMP Kirkham has been commended for his volunteer work as Salvation Army sessional chaplain. Described by the establishment’s governor as ‘an outstanding man’, Barry has been part of HMP Kirkham’s chaplaincy for more than 20 years and, remarkably, was actually nominated by a prisoner.
‘I have served over 20 years in prisons and at times have had bad relationships with many staff,’ says the prisoner. ‘I would never have imagined recommending a member of staff for any award, but with Barry Barrington I feel it is the least I could do to recognise his hard work and kindness to those around him. Barry is one of the nicest and kindest people I have come across in prison and I know that many other people would like to see him recognised for his kindness over the years.’
At more than 80 years of age he is described as having ‘the energy of a man a quarter of his age’, and he arranges music performances, film nights and discussion groups, regularly providing refreshments for up to 50 prisoners at his own expense. The film nights have become so popular that he has had to develop a sophisticated booking system, with prisoners applying hours ahead to get the best seats. He’s such an inspiring figure to many that they volunteer to help him with publicising the events and operate the booking system. He will also step in to help prisoners during family crises, accompanying them to hospital visits and funerals.
The prison’s head of business development describes him as, ‘in every sense a splendid example of the chaplain’s work, and should he ever decide to retire he would leave a gap which would be near impossible to fill. His modesty and selflessness is something I wish we could bottle.’
For more information: contact HMP Kirkham