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The Playstation

Supporting children visiting prison

for more than 30 years


Supporting Children Visiting Prison


THE PLAYSTATION (Toybox Lee Avenue) is a charitable company, which exists to improve the quality of visits for children and their families, to help to maintain family relationships and to make a significant contribution to the visiting environment for

families in Barlinnie Prison.


It is run by a dedicated group of volunteers with two enthusiastic members of staff all guided and inspired by Ann, the Play Coordinator.


About us


The Playstation is a charity (Toybox number SCO2 2669)  that supports children who

are visiting Barlinnie Prison

in Glasgow - and offers advocacy on behalf of

those children to ensure

that their needs

are met.


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Thousands of children visit family members in Barlinnie every year – some come only once, others we get to know over many months. Growing up when someone in your family is in prison presents huge challenges, and visiting them can be a stressful and even frightening time. The calm, playful atmosphere in The Playstation play area can help to make visiting as happy and family-friendly as it can be.


The Playstation provides a welcoming space in the prison visits room where children can play and relax, supported by

a team of trained

play volunteers

and three members

of staff, who all work

to ensure that every

child’s experience is a

positive one. The play area

also offers an opportunity for

the children to meet others in a similar situation - Something that might not be possible otherwise.


We would love to hear from you.   Email:

About Us

Why There Is A Need

There are 2.1 million children in Europe with a parent in prison.

Each of those children is vulnerable to emotional, social and financial difficulties. Often the hardest part of all is dealing  with the stigma. This can have a lasting impact on their health and well being. 

Having a parent in prison is recognised as a significant

Adverse Childhood Experience. 

Regular contact with parents is crucial in maintaining children's emotional wellbeing and capacity for resilience. 



Play can make the experience of visiting a prison less stressful - or boring  - by providing a child friendly space.

Play offers the child a way to deal with demanding circumstances. Children and young people can experience a range of emotions in a safe way, promoting resilience and fostering self esteem

e.g. helps them to understand their relative is not lost and can help allay a child's fears.

Play allows parents and children to bond over something fun together. It strengthens their relationships and attachments whilst fostering positive and emotional well-being for all.

Play, where prisoners can interact with their child while in prison can reduce feelings of guilt and loneliness - and bolster self esteem and responsibility as parents

Strengthened family relationships, in turn, can help reduce offending (by both parents and children), increase dynamic security and benefit society.

Play offers opportunities to interact with other children if wanted. The play area may be the only space where they can meet with other children of 

prisoners, and away from stigma. 

Play in a welcoming environment makes the whole visit smoother for officers and families - and makes it more likely that children will visit again.

Why There Is A Need
How To Help

How To Help

You have already started helping by reading this website.  

Thank you for your interest in The Playstation.

There are lots of ways that you can get involved, though we also appreciate new ideas and suggestions.

Just sharing with a friend or following us on Facebook can have an impact. 


If you have any questions, or thoughts, please do

Contact Us.

or email Ann, our play coordinator:

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The volunteers are the heart of The Playstation. They not only make the visit experience a welcoming and enriching one for the children but they create a happy and colourful atmosphere which spreads across the room.  Without their dedication and commitment there would be no play provision within the visits room.

We are always on the look out for play volunteers to join the crew at The Playstation - and help make this stop along the children's journey a very happy one.  Click here to find out more about this role.



We welcome help sharing news about our work, and raising awareness of the challenges faced by young people who are affected by imprisonment.


We rely on donations and support from individuals and grant-giving bodies, and are very grateful for any contribution, no matter how small. Though the Playstation is crewed by volunteers it has three paid members of staff and, as we no longer receive government funding, we appreciate even more than ever your support. All gifts and fundraising enable us to continue providing an important service for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

You can help us by making a donation, organising or supporting a fundraising event (e.g. a coffee

morning or sponsored walk) or just by your continued interest and spreading the word about what we do.


How to Volunteer


The Playstation relies on the contribution of volunteers, and we are always on the look out for more people to join our team.



If you enjoy working with children and can make a regular  commitment (at the most, a three to four hour session once a week) over at least six months, we  would love to hear from you.


We are looking for volunteers aged 18 or over, who have an open mind and some experience working with children. If you are interested and would like to know more, please contact us or email our play coordinator Ann:


We provide training in child protection procedures and other aspects of the role, and volunteers will be asked to give references and complete a criminal record check via Disclosure Scotland.


Volunteers’ main work takes place in the visiting room at Barlinnie Prison, during times where visiting families and convicted or remand prisoners are present. There are opportunities during the daytime and evenings, on weekdays and at weekends.

How to Donate  

We are very grateful for any donations and if you feel you would like to give, please do so by: 

          Bank Transfer:

                Contact Us for details or email:



                Payable to Toybox Lee Avenue

                and posted to:

                Play Coordinator,

                The Playstation,

                HMP Barlinnie, 81 Lee Ave,

                Glasgow G33 2QX

(please let us know by email if you have posted a donation and we can then look out for its arrival).

                Or by Paypal using the Donate button below:


                                                              Thank you

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