I feel a lot calmer and valued as a person. My befriender writes regularly and has visited me twice. This has made a big difference to my life. I will forever be grateful to her. Keep doing what you're doing, you're changing lives, for the better
We match people in prison with trained volunteers, who engage in fully safeguarded, boundaried befriending relationships. People in prison exchange letters with their volunteer, who comes to visit them several times a year.
New Bridge is unique in that the approach we take is person-centred rather than place-based. The same volunteer will support the person in prison wherever they may be moved across the prison estate. This long-term commitment from the volunteer helps to foster strong, trusting relationships which help to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of those we support.
We know that the relationship gives those in prison a better understanding of their attitudes and behaviours, boosts self-esteem and self-confidence and even in some cases motivates them to make contact with friends, family and other organisations.
We encourage our volunteers to visit their pen pal and cover their expenses so that they can visit their prisoner wherever they are in the country.
Having someone who maintains regular contact provides markers throughout my sentence, something to look forward to and something that requires me to take some considered action in the form of a reply. Without a befriender there would be less point in carrying on
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