Two north east charities – Nepacs and Citizens Advice County Durham – have joined forces to recruit more volunteers to provide telephone support to people in need of help.

During the pandemic a lot of charities have had to increase the level of telephone support they offer, instead of the typical face to face work they would usually do. Some of these charities have seen a decrease in their volunteer numbers over the last 18 months.

The Nepacs Helpline and Citizens Advice County Durham are appealing during March 2022 for potential volunteers to get in touch.

Emma Price, early days in custody coordinator for Nepacs said: “Nepacs North East Helpline offers confidential support and information for individuals, families and friends involved in the criminal justice system, from arrest, to court, prison and on release – helping over 600 people in its second year. Our team of helpline volunteers aim to reduce the distress and confusion that individual’s experience, and offer practical information which can reduce the impact of imprisonment.

“Our friendly helpline volunteers work closely with our teams in north east courts, prisons and visits areas, and our youth project team to ensure families or friends are offered the support they need to get through this difficult time and are signposted to relevant services in the community which can help them.”

Sarah Ward, training and development manager for Citizens Advice County Durham said: “Our team of volunteers offer free, confidential and impartial advice services for people who live, work or study in County Durham. The Adviceline volunteers aim to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem.

“Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and all have different life experiences, which adds to our friendly, welcoming organisation. People volunteer with us for a variety of reasons – some to give back to the community, some to gain confidence and skills, and we find that for those that want to find a job, our training provides the experience and skills employer’s value. In fact some our staff, including some of our managers, started as volunteers.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Nepacs (eprice@nepacs.co.uk) or Citizens Advice County Durham (Volunteer@citizensadvicecd.org.uk) and can find out more about the campaign on the charities websites: www.nepacs.co.uk and www.citizensadvicecd.org.uk