One of the many important functions of The Playstation is to provide a setting
where the children can meet, chat and play with others who are also visiting
the prison. There is often nowhere else where this is possible. The Playstation
offers a welcoming and non judgemental environment - a safe place to share a
common experience. It is a friendly stop for each child on their journeys.
It was, in fact, that sense of travelling that inspired The Playstation Project. The volunteers and staff are all very aware of the stresses and pressures each family has to deal with, simply to attend a short visit - and often of the long distances travelled. They are also aware that, just as each of us journeys along our own route through life, for the children this particular one can be extremely difficult and complex.
In response to this and the naming of The Playstation (by one of the children), a station theme was developed and (in acknowledgment of the similarity of The Playstation title to the well known brand!) the characters created in a style suggestive of early computer games. They are jolly, bright and eager to join the children at The Playstation! Each has their own story to tell, as they rush to be on time. Signor Pendolino (Super Mario’s uncle!), the Station Master, stands ready to send them off on the next leg of their journey, once the visit is over.
As the children enter the world of Signor Pendolino and start to recognise the characters, they can choose and name their favourite, creating a 'picture' of where they think each might have come from, are going to - and what stories they might have to tell about their journeying. As these evolve, either the children or the volunteers write down their ideas - or developments of others. Every child can take home a picture, if they wish, of their chosen character, often returning with their thoughts and imaginings at the next visit.
The illustrations decorate the play area, making the visits room as a whole more attractive for all, and welcoming for the children.
The Playstation Project is a unique one in that, over time, all the threads and concepts will be put together in a book that has been illustrated before it is written - and most importantly, one that each child will feel they were a part of!
If you would like to support this project, please use the donate button, below.