New Bridge befriending is unique because:

  • New Bridge Befriending is not a pen pal scheme - we both write and visit

  • New Bridge is attached to the individual not the prison - our support is constant through moves to different prisons

  • New Bridge befrienders are carefully selected and trained - we provide continuous supervision and peer support 

Being in touch with a New Bridge volunteer has given me a new lease of life.  From being so down and depressed to gaining confidence from my volunteer making me smile is the biggest achievement.  I’ve been helped to push forward with ideas I’ve had like writing a children’s book.  I would like to work as a volunteer as I fully realise now just what you can gain from interaction with another human being when locked up in prison.

When someone in prison requests a New Bridge Befriender we ask their offender management unit to complete, with them, and return our verification form which details their index offence, sentence length, previous convictions, DOB, hobbies /interests and risk factors to be considered. 

On receipt, we add the person’s details to our list of those waiting for New Bridge Befriender (and in the meantime maintain a regular contact through letters and cards). New Bridge Befrienders select their befriendees based on the details we’ve been supplied with.

All letters are exchanged via the New Bridge address and we encourage visiting after about six months exchanging letters.  Some people do decide that they don’t want visits and this is a choice we always respect.

Having a visitor from New Bridge has helped me through some of the darkest times I have been going through during which I have felt even more isolated.  This service has helped me and indeed lifted my mood and it helps me to focus on looking forward to my next visit and letter.  Just having a chat I find to be most uplifting and helpful.

New Bridge befrienders come from all walks of life and from various backgrounds and all share a common desire to help people. Their offer is one of patience, warmth, understanding and dependability and they are good listeners.