Volunteer Recruitment & Retainment Policy

 

New Bridge is a charity that was founded in 1956 to create links between offenders and the community.  New Bridge primarily achieves its objectives by befriending men, women and young people in prison through a network of volunteers.

 

The New Bridge Befriending Service aims to support vulnerable people in prison by establishing and maintaining contact through letter writing and visiting. Having a Befriender can help a prisoner develop positive attitudes; a Befriender can challenge a prisoner’s thinking and ultimately help them improve their behaviour both in prison and later in the community.  

New Bridge Foundation and the prisoners it supports, benefit from the skills, experience and commitment of its volunteers and believes that volunteers should be able to gain personal benefits from the experience too. We are committed to supporting volunteers in a way that ensures that the needs of both parties are met.

New Bridge Foundations strives to create a diverse and inclusive organisation within a diverse and inclusive community. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring equality of access to our volunteering opportunities, irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.  At New Bridge we value the individuality and inspiration that every worker and volunteer brings to the organisation.

  • Workers, volunteers, job applicants, visitors and prisoners will be treated fairly, openly and honestly, and with dignity and respect.
  • No job applicant, worker, volunteer or volunteer in training will receive less favourable treatment on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.

New Bridge volunteers are involved at every level of the organisation in roles which complement, but never substitute, the work of paid staff.  Volunteers will not be used in times of industrial action to do the work of paid staff. They may continue with their regular tasks but will not be asked to undertake additional duties.

All volunteers are provided with a written role description, outlining the purpose, tasks and main expectations of their role.

New Bridge Volunteers are fully protected by our public liability and personal accident insurance. However, drivers using their cars in connection with their voluntary work must inform their own insurance company to ensure adequate and continued cover.

New Bridge reimburses volunteers' out of pocket expenses for travel, postage and subsistence when claims are submitted on a standard Expenses Claim Form and accompanied by proof of expenditure.   

The Befriending Director is responsible for the overall management of volunteer involvement, including overseeing the implementation of this policy, identifying training requirements and dealing with any complaint or grievance relating to volunteers. The Befriending Administrator assists in the management, supervision, support and training of volunteers.  All volunteers are assigned to a group led by a Group Chair who will offer further support and supervision and countersign expenses claims

New Bridge employs a continuous selection process if at any stage during this process, New Bridge feels it would not be appropriate for an applicant to become a New Bridge volunteer, the reasons for this decision will be explained to the applicant and their involvement with New Bridge will be discontinued.

Volunteers will only be able to commence supporting a prisoner following successful completion of the following:

  • Application Form
  • Interview
  • Attendance at the 2-Day Induction Training Course
  • Two satisfactory references
  • Attendance at two Support Group Meetings

Applications are welcome from individuals who have a criminal record; however, they must be at least two years clear from Probation supervision or release from prison. 

New Bridge Foundation implements a fair, effective and open system in the recruitment and selection of volunteers and treats all information collected in this process confidentially.

If unsuccessful, individuals will be offered an opportunity to discuss the outcome and identify possible alternatives outside of New Bridge Foundation or a suitable time frame within which to reapply.

Accredited volunteers will be issued with a New Bridge ID Card and Accreditation Letter, both of which should be presented when entering a prison in their capacity as a New Bridge volunteer. 

Volunteer Accreditation is reviewed annually and is dependent upon a volunteer’s:

  • Dependability towards the prisoners they support.
  • Regular attendance at Support Group Meetings.
  • Regular submission of the Expenses Forms.
  • Adherence to the ‘Volunteer Policies & Procedures’.

All volunteers are allocated to a local support group who for help and guidance on day to day issues.  However the Office Staff are available during working hour to give regular support to, and supervision of, the volunteer.

New Bridge Foundation is committed to improving the effectiveness of volunteers. Volunteers are invited to attend our Seminar to develop their understanding of their voluntary role.

New Bridge Foundation aims to reflect the voluntary nature of our relationship with volunteers in all our policies and procedures for managing their involvement. Therefore, minor complaints or grievances about, or by, volunteers, or their work, will be dealt with in the first instance, through the usual support and supervision procedures.

However, we recognise our duty to protect the wellbeing and interests of all our stakeholders and therefore operate a formal complaints procedure in the case of more serious complaints. In the case of particularly serious offences, as specified in the Code of Practice, this process may be bypassed and/or the subject of the complaint asked to leave. Where a criminal offence is suspected, the matter will be handed over to the police.   

  • In the event of a serious complaint concerning the conduct of a volunteer, the Befriending Director and the Support Group Chairperson will meet with the volunteer to discuss the matter and decide upon the most appropriate course of action.
  • If a complaint is not of a serious nature, the matter may be dealt with at the Support Group Meeting.
  • In the event of a complaint made by a volunteer, the Befriending Director and the Support Group Chairperson will meet to discuss the complaint and seek to find a resolution.
  • If the complaint is of a serious nature and concerns a member of the New Bridge staff, the complaint should be directed in writing to the New Bridge Chief Executive.
  • Should the complaint concern the New Bridge Chief Executive, it should be directed in writing to the New Bridge Chairman.

New Bridge Foundation recognises the core role that volunteers fulfil at every level of the organisation. It endeavours to communicate with volunteers in appropriate ways, including, e-mail and newsletters.

It also recognises the importance of seeking volunteers' ideas and opinions at regular intervals and conducts a bi-annual volunteer survey.  Feedback from volunteers is always welcome and any volunteer may make representations to their Group Chairman to pass onto the New Bridge Trustees and/or Chairman. 

In order to effectively monitor the work that volunteers do, a personal file is maintained for all volunteers, which includes: contact details and other relevant personal information; details of the application and selection process; agreements made; hours worked; support meetings attended; training undertaken and any complaints or grievances made or received. Some of this information and other relevant information may also be recorded in computerised records. All such information is treated in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations and volunteers are entitled to inspect all such information pertaining to their own involvement.