A north east charity, supporting over 126,000 visitors to north east prisons each year, is seeking new volunteers to help support families and children of prisoners visiting three prisons near Durham City.

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 have around 300 volunteers working across the region, but are looking to recruit more volunteers at three prisons in the Durham area – HMP Durham, HMP Frankland and HMP & YOI Low Newton (women’s prison).

There are a range of volunteering opportunities – Monday to Sunday – to help families on the day they visit a loved one in prison. The Nepacs teams are looking for people who can help book  families in for a prison visit, provide information and support, serve refreshments and help out in the play areas and youth zones for children and young people, both outside of  the prison in the visitors centre and inside the prison.

Emma Price, 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.”

*Lorna’s husband was sent to prison for two years and she told us that the worst part was telling her children. She said: “Everything is destroyed, your way of life, your security, your finances. You try to keep everything normal but it’s not normal. Listening to your children crying every night asking when their dad is coming home.”

Emma added: “Volunteering in a prison environment can be rewarding for all. Nepacs volunteers come from all walks of life, younger and older, male and female, and those who have been personally affected by imprisonment and would like to help other families going through the same experience  If you think you could support someone like ‘Lorna’ 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 or find out more through our website.”

Further details of all volunteer opportunities with Nepacs are on their website www.nepacs.co.uk or you can email volunteering@nepacs.co.uk