Become a Volunteer

 

DOWNLOAD HERE: VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM

Befriending prisoners, accepting them as individuals, regardless of the crime they committed, can be difficult and sometimes demanding. Nevertheless volunteers find it rewarding to know they have made a difference to one person’s life. 

If you are up for the challenge, are over 18 and prepared to commit to befriending a prisoner for at least 2 years, writing a letter every two weeks and visiting a prisoner three to four times a year, please complete the attached application form at the top of the page.

Here is Gary’s story about becoming a Volunteer:.

“As a self-employed business man I could not remember the last time I had constructed a CV, let alone prepared for an interview. The process of applying to New Bridge as a volunteer made me think about my motives and if I could do the job. I did have doubts.

After submitting my application I was asked to attend a one to one interview and was made to feel at ease. I felt intrigued and had the sense that perhaps I could offer something positive to a section of the population often reviled and literally out of sight.

A couple of months later I attended a two day induction course and met an extraordinarily diverse bunch of people. We had a riveting presentation from an ex-prisoner about the importance and influence that having a volunteer had on his life. He talked of the nervousness he felt at first meeting his volunteer, his fear of being rejected or saying the wrong thing.

I appreciated the fact that the charity provides strong guidance protocols but otherwise leaves the volunteer to create his own prisoner relationship.

A few weeks later I had my first chance to meet my local support group, a friendly collection of ten or so. It became clear that although each prisoner is unique, the problems they face inside certainly aren’t.  The first prisoner I established a good relationship with was an ex-biker from Birmingham. I found the experience of writing both therapeutic and natural. Of course there are restrictions on what you can write about personal details. But I found it quite easy to establish a range of topics we both felt comfortable with.

After about a year of exchanging letters we arranged our first visit. I don’t know why it took so long but I’m glad as it gave our relationship time to develop. He talked pretty much for two hours solid. After a while he calmed down – I guess he was very nervous – and admitted that I was the first visitor he’d had in twelve years. Driving home I realised it’s a two-way thing. It can bring happiness to a prisoner who has made disastrous choices in their life. For the volunteer it brings the pleasure of actually making a difference.”

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