The Catholic Chaplain at HMP Norwich, Ursula Edwards, is appealing to Catholics to consider volunteering as mentors with the Community Chaplaincy in Norfolk.
She said: “There are ex-offenders who have actively engaged with the Catholic chaplaincy in prison, but find when they are released that there are no mentors who are Catholic. A mentor can support someone on their faith journey as well, by offering to accompany them to Mass, for example. This can make all the difference to someone who has found faith in prison but never attended church on the outside and lacks the confidence to attend for a first time on their own.”
CCN is a Christian charity which provides volunteer mentors for ex-offenders of all faiths and none, supporting them to rebuild their lives after prison.
Their work is not time limited. Once a person has been accepted as a CCN client, a mentor will meet them several times in prison, to build up a relationship and identify the kind of support they will need to achieve their goals.
On the day of discharge, a mentor will try to meet each client at the gate and accompany them to accommodation, probation, or other appointments. This is followed by regular meetings with their mentor to discuss progress and work through any challenges.
“It’s just helping that person to walk life’s journey, really.” CCN Mentor.
Mentors come from a diverse background of life experiences and beliefs. They range in age and there is a good gender mix. All mentors undertake an initial training which is followed by additional training and group support sessions. All mentors are also supported by regular one-to-one sessions with the CCN manager. If you might like to become a mentor for CCN, please visit: www.norfolkchaplaincy.org.uk
Norfolk has a rich diversity of services available to help clients with applying for benefits, support agencies for addictions, and opportunities for voluntary positions, positive activities, training, education, or work. Mentors signpost clients to these agencies and explore options with them. CCN co-ordinates a quarterly forum for organisations working with people with convictions. If you are interested to join the forum or discuss partnership working, please get in touch.
CCN is not part of the prison system and, while it is a Christian charity, it is not attached to any one denomination. It welcomes clients and mentors of all faiths and none.