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1a Elm Park

London
SW2 2TX
New Bridge was founded in 1956 to create links between
offenders and the community. The intention is not to forget
the victims of crime but to prevent more people from
becoming victims. New Bridge achieves its objectives by
befriending people in prison in England and Wales through a
network of volunteers; by running resettlement projects in
specific prisons and by encouraging the public to accept the
need to reintegrate ex-offenders into the community. New
Bridge is a non-campaigning organisation.

____________________________________

BEFRIENDING
SHEET

INFORMATION

Many prisoners do not receive letters or visits.


Most of us need someone to talk to - someone
we can trust, who doesnt put labels on us, who
talks straight, stays in touch and doesnt make
promises they cant keep.
Our Befriending
Service aims to support vulnerable people in
prison by establishing and maintaining contact
through letter writing and visiting.
There are many organisations that facilitate
contact between prisoners and members of the
public, however, New Bridge prides itself on
being distinct from these other services for
three main reasons:1. New Bridge is not just a pen pal scheme your volunteer will visit you as well as write to
you.
2. Our volunteers are attached to the prisoner
not the prison, therefore, they will continue
being your volunteer even if you move prison.
3. Our volunteers are trained before writing to
and visiting prisoners and are continuously
supported through monthly Support Group
Meetings.

VOLUNTEER BEFRIENDERS

New Bridge volunteers come from all walks of


life and from various backgrounds. The men
and women who undertake this work have a
common desire to help people.
They offer
patience, warmth, empathy, dependability and
understanding. They are mature, good listeners
and able to cope with challenging situations.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and
are initially required to complete an application
form.
Two references are obtained for
successful applicants, who are then invited for
an interview and CRB checked. Following a
successful interview, applicants must attend a
two-day Training Course and then two Support
Group Meetings before they can start
befriending a prisoner. This recruitment process
can take several months.
Applications are

welcome from individuals who have a criminal


record, however, they must be at least two
years clear from Probation supervision or
release from prison.
Volunteers
are
required
to
commit
to
befriending a prisoner for a period of at least 18
months. Volunteers are encouraged to befriend
more than one prisoner, which will involve
writing approximately one letter every two
weeks and visiting approximately once every 34 months (per prisoner).
Prisoners write to volunteers at the New Bridge
address and New Bridge forwards these letters
on to volunteers. Volunteers always contact
prisoners with a view to eventually visiting
them. That said, some prisoners decide they
dont want visits and this is their choice.
Volunteers do not give prisoners money or gifts
or divulge their address, phone numbers or
personal details.
Newly trained volunteers join a Befriending
Support Group.
New Bridge currently has
Support Groups in Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter,
Hampshire,
Leeds,
Liverpool,
London,
Manchester,
Stockport,
Weymouth
and
Wolverhampton.
Support Group Meetings
provide a forum for volunteers to discuss the
prisoners they are in contact with and to offer
each other guidance and support. Continued
accreditation as a New Bridge volunteer is
dependent upon regular attendance at Support
Group Meetings.
Volunteers are entitled to claim for reasonable
expenses incurred while carrying out their role.

PRISONERS
Any adult prisoner in England or Wales is
eligible to apply for a New Bridge Befriender.
The Befriending Service tends to attract the
more vulnerable and isolated prisoners who
have limited or no contact with people in the
outside world. These are usually prisoners who
have committed the most serious offences and
who are serving lengthy, life or indeterminate
sentences.
New Bridge produces a waiting list of prisoners
who have requested a volunteer. A Prison Staff
Member completes a Verification Form with
each prisoner, which includes details such as
index offence, sentence length, previous
convictions,
DOB
and
hobbies/interests.
Volunteers access the waiting list at Support
Group Meetings and selection of a prisoner is
made in liaison with the Group Chairperson.
Volunteers are encouraged to select prisoners
based on shared interests and similar age.

Prisoners who approach New Bridge are


informed that the organisation is not a dating or
introductory agency and that New Bridge
volunteers cannot give them money or gifts, are
not able to divulge their personal details and
are not able to contact their family or friends.
For further details about New Bridge, please
call us on 020 7976 0779 or visit our website
at www.newbridgefoundation.org.uk.