Local charity seeks potential volunteers in Tees Valley and Teesdale to support families of prisoners
A north east charity, supporting over 124,000 visitors to north east prisons each year, are appealing for volunteers to help support families and children impacted by the criminal justice system in the Teesside area and at HMP Deerbolt in Barnard Castle.
Nepacs, which celebrated its 140th year in 2022, aims to help support a positive future for prisoners, their friends and families and has a fantastic team of volunteers working in all seven prisons and courts in the north east and in the community.
The charity are currently seeking volunteers to help provide a welcoming and friendly visiting service for children and families visiting a loved one in HMP Holme House and HMP Kirklevington (in Tees Valley) and HMP Deerbolt (near Barnard Castle).
There is something to suit everyone as the team are looking for volunteers to help in the visit tea bars, visitors’ centres, youth zones and play areas. The charity also need volunteers to support their family support programme which helps the family throughout the time their partner/relative is in prison, and their Heading Home programme which works with the family and the person in prison to plan for their release.
Taylor Matthews, Nepacs’ volunteer coordinator, said: “The impact of imprisonment on children and families can be devastating which is why we feel it is important to support them every step of their journey – from the courts, during the time their loved one is in prison and prior to release. Our team of volunteers are dedicated to helping prisoners’ families and children across the north east, but we are looking for more volunteers to join our team and help us to offer the best support possible during what is an extremely difficult time for families.
“Nepacs volunteers come from all walks of life. If you think you could get involved 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.”
June, who volunteers with the visits team at HMP Holme House said: “On retirement I felt I still had a lot to give. My previous job had been all about helping and listening to people and this position is all about that.
“You get so much pleasure, satisfaction and reward from taking away any stress people may feel especially on a first visit. It also helps me as now my work colleagues are lovely friends.”
Peter, who also volunteers at HMP Holme House visitors’ centre said: “When I retired I wanted to be involved in some voluntary work. I saw an advert in the local paper for volunteers for Holme House Prison Visitors Centre. I thought that this would be a great way to help the families and loved ones of prisoners.
“I have now been volunteering for the past 19 years. I feel that I am able to give something back to the community, also it has given me the opportunity to work with other volunteers and staff who I now call friends.”