A north east charity is holding two volunteer open days at HMP Deerbolt near Barnard Castle and at HMP Durham in Durham City as part of this year’s National Volunteer Week celebrations.

Nepacs has worked across the north east region for over 135 years to help support a positive future for prisoners, their friends and families. 

Nepacs is looking for new volunteers to join their teams at HMP Deerbolt located in the beautiful village of Startforth near Barnard Castle and at HMP Durham’s visitors centre team in Durham City and other projects in the Durham area.

As part of National Volunteer Week celebrations the charity is giving anyone interested in volunteering the chance to come along to their Volunteer Open Days on:

–        Saturday 2 June 2018 between 2pm to 3.30pm at HMP&YOI Deerbolt’s visitors centre in  Barnard Castle

–        Sunday 3 June 2018, 1pm to 3pm at the Visitors’ Centre at HMP Durham, Durham City 

Anyone that attends will hear about the different volunteering opportunities available and be able to chat to existing volunteers whilst enjoying some cake and refreshments. Those interested in volunteering will have the chance to sign up for volunteering on the day. 

There are a wide range of opportunities available at Nepacs. Within the four Durham prisons volunteers are needed to help in the visit tea bars, visitors’ centre, youth zones and play areas. The charity is also looking for volunteers to support their regional youth programme which helps young people aged 8 to 17 years impacted by a parent or relative being in prison, to help out as admin volunteers at the head office in Durham City and to support families and friends of defendants attending Durham Crown Court.

Emma Price, Nepacs’ volunteer coordinator, said: “Our team of volunteers are dedicated to helping prisoners’ families and children across the north east, but we need more volunteers to ensure we can offer the best support possible. The impact of imprisonment on children and families can be devastating and visiting prison for the first time can be quite difficult and sometimes distressing.

“We would like to invite anyone interested in volunteering to join with us and share in our experience of providing a warm and friendly environment for families visiting loved ones in prison. We greet people from all walks of life from near and far so it’s important that everyone is treated with respect, and feel welcome in a place and situation they may never have thought they would ever be.

“Our team of staff and volunteers provide a friendly place to chat, have a cup of tea and can help to answer any questions or concerns that visitors may have about visiting prison or about their loved ones in prison.

“Our open day will give people a chance to find out more and support families who are visiting their relatives in very difficult circumstances.Volunteering in a prison environment can be rewarding for all and is often a valuable experience for younger volunteers who may be considering a career in the justice system.”

The Deerbolt visitors’ centre team are looking for people who have a few hours to volunteer on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday each week and each shift lasts about four hours, and the family support team are seeking volunteers to help out Monday to Thursday. The Durham visitors’ centre are open 7 days a week, with weekends particularly busy.

Emma added: “If you think you could support us by volunteering and would like to be part of a team who helps to make a difference to the lives of prisoners’ families please get in touch to register your attendance for our open days or find out more through our website.”

To book onto the open days please contact Emma Price, Nepacs Volunteer Coordinator by email eprice@nepacs.co.uk or call 0191 375 7278.Anyone interested must book a place.

Further details of all volunteer opportunities with Nepacs are on their website www.nepacs.co.uk