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NEPACS | Durham Freemasons

Masonic Charitable Foundation

Disadvantaged children coping with a parent in prison will get help and support thanks to Durham Freemasons

More than 200 local children and young people with a parent in prison will be given the support they need to overcome social stigma, loneliness and mental health problems, thanks to a grant of £60,000 from Durham Freemasons to the North East Prison After Care Society (NEPACS).

The project, named Bee Yourself, will deliver a package of practical and emotional support for young people in the northeast of England, aged 4-17. These are disadvantaged young people, mostly from households in receipt of free-school meals, located in deprived wards and experiencing significant financial and emotional hardship.

Many of these young people do not receive specific help and often ‘go under the radar’ when their parent goes into custody. They are far more likely than their peers to experience social isolation, loneliness and mental health issues. An estimated 30 per cent of children impacted by parental imprisonment experience significant mental health problems, compared to 10 per cent of the wider youth population.

Similarly, children of prisoners are more likely to take unauthorised school absences than their peers. This has an inevitable effect on their overall educational attainment and passes on disadvantages to the next generation.

Children of prisoners are also at far greater risk of engaging in criminal behaviour. Statistics show that 54 per cent of people entering prison have at least one child under 18 and 312,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment each year. 71 per cent of boys who experience a parent in prison end up in trouble with the police themselves and 66 per cent will go on to offend.

NEPACS’ existing, more informal Young People’s services deliver impressive results: 80 per cent have reported a reduction in isolation; 89 per cent of young people stating they had formed new lasting friendships; 90 per cent stating they had no intention of involving themselves in criminal behaviour in the future; 90 per cent have indicated an improvement in their ‘state of happiness’ and 75 per cent have since reported a significant improvement in self-esteem and confidence.

The grant from Durham Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Emma Price from NEPACS, said:

“We’re very grateful to Durham Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to help hundreds of children and young people who are experiencing mental health issues, loneliness and social isolation following the imprisonment of a parent. Helping them to overcome these issues will be a huge benefit to them, their families and to the community in general.”

John Paul Thompson Head of the Durham Freemasons, said:

“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support NEPACS with their excellent programme to support children who are struggling after a parent has been sent to prison. One especially alarming statistic is that two thirds of the sons of prisoners end up in trouble with the police themselves. Helping them to avoid involvement in crime and take advantage of their education can transform their lives.”

The photos show Emma Price and Abdul Amin of NEPACS with John Thompson and Durham Freemasons representatives.


NEPACS is a north east charity which celebrated its 140th birthday in 2022. The charity supports the wellbeing of individuals and families who’ve been impacted by contact with the criminal justice system.

They provide practical and emotional support to all members of the family who suffer the ‘hidden sentence’ of a loved one’s imprisonment. We also directly support offenders to reduce reoffending.

NEPACS work at all stages of the criminal justice system, predominantly in deprived communities with people who suffer stigma, social disadvantage and economic hardship. Key to this is support for the children of offenders, who experience isolation, disrupted education, mental health issues and who are statistically more likely than peers to engage in crime.

For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (  |0203 146 3311)

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief.  In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit

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