Looking after mental health while in prison - a free resource for prisoners and chaplains

The Mental Health Foundation has developed an accessible and informative resource for male prisoners on how to look after their mental health whilst in prison. This guide is not only helpful for those serving sentences, but it has also proved useful for those supporting prisoners, such as prison charities and chaplains.

We are grateful to The Salvation Army Prison Ministries Unit for making us aware of this resource. They have been working closely with the Mental Health Foundation who, after producing this excellent free resource, are keen to share it widely and get it into prisons, so it can support those who are in need.

Inside the guide, there are links to other support organisations, general advice and guidance, as well as 10 tips for looking after one’s mental health in prison. These tips have come from prisoners themselves as well as researchers working in prison…

You can read more about this and download it for free, here.

(photo courtesy of Erol Ahmed at Unsplash)

Revd Debbie Hodge is set to retire from FCG at end of the year


Revd Debbie Hodge will retire at the end of 2019. Debbie has held the post of Secretary for Health Care Chaplaincy, Free Churches, since February 2005 and has been part of the many changes in Chaplaincy over almost 15 years. Her work across ecumenical and faith boundaries has been appreciated by many and she will be missed, particularly by colleagues at the Free Churches Group.

A farewell party to celebrate Revd Debbie Hodge's service to the Free Churches Group will take place at Free Church House on Monday 13 January 2020 at 15:30.

Please save the date and look out for more information.

Say. Do. Pray.

We hope that Christians will join us during the week of 18th to 22nd November and take part in #SayDoPray.

Pray for Schools, with whom FCG enjoy a productive working relationship, are encouraging us all in the coming week, as part of an initiative called Say. Do. Pray

Say something encouraging; Do something kind; Pray for a friend.

There are lots of ways you can take part… download the poster full of ideas here.

Do get involved and pray for your school:

• Giving a gift of a plant or a cake to the teachers in your school.

• By using Social media to promote #SayDoPray

• Just praying on your own,

• Running a prayer meeting or a Prayer Marathon in your school for pupils and/or staff,

• Organising a prayer evening for everyone from your church,

• Setting up a stall in or outside a school and offering to pray for pupils and staff,

• Prayer Walking around your local school and area – see our video,

Pray Day for Schools is on 19th November this year - join us as we pray for our schools

(photo courtesy of Mike Meeks at Unsplash)


Working in schools? Here's some ideas for assemblies...

Many years ago, while I was tutoring on the FCG member church Congregational Federation ministry training programme, I had opportunity to learn more about the work of Spinnaker from one of my students based in London, who had been carrying out a placement with them. I was truly uplifted by the way that Spinnaker inspire and equip teachers and others working in schools, to support children to engage with Christianity.

I am glad to know that Spinnaker are still going strong and continuing to foster positive working relationships with schools, teachers, children and communities.

Since 1986 Spinnaker has been developing opportunities for children to engage with Christianity. One of the key members of the Spinnaker team has played an active role in our Free Church Education Committee for many years, so we are delighted to be able to share some of their resources here with you - all about amazing animals!

This Assembly Pack aims to inspire, encourage and engage children in discovering how amazing God is. Throughout the year we will amazed by awesome animals, we will discover amazing people and will be exploring amazing places that help us understand more about God. Each assembly focuses on a specific value, theme or keyword. You can download the pack HERE

We invite you to join us as we pray for the work of Spinnaker.

Date for your diary - remember Pray Day for Schools coming up on 19th November.

Sara Iles, Education Asst

(photo courtesy of Awmleer at Unsplash)

Keeping in touch is important for us at the FCG

Keeping in touch with our partners and network is important for us at the FCG. So, as part of this work, every term we attend a meeting with representatives from other faith groups at the Department for Education to discuss the latest developments in education, as well as offer our Free Church perspectives.

Once a year, we meet separately to keep in touch with some key officials and talk about some of our interests and concerns in education.

Our representatives at these meetings are Sarah Lane Cawte, FCG Education Officer and Graham Handscomb, Chair of the Free Church Education Committee (pictured below at the recent meeting at the Department for Education offices in Westminster).

You too can keep in touch with education news by checking here.