Community Chaplaincy Norfolk (CCN) has been working with offenders in Norfolk prisons to offer support and guidance for life beyond the prison gates since 2016. It has been operating under the auspices of the House of Genesis who also work with ex-offenders. However in December 2018 it was granted charity status in its own right. So while we are young as a charity, we have a history of working in this field.
Community Chaplaincies work alongside prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. They are multi-faith and work with offenders of all faiths and none.
Dozens of referrals have so far been made to the Norfolk team who are also working with female offenders at Peterborough Prison whose future may lie in Norfolk.
Rev Susan Carne, who heads CCN, said: “A lot of people who come out of prison have nobody there for them, their families have cut them off, they don’t want to go back to their old area where they may mix with old circles of friends and get into trouble again.
“Our mentors meet with their clients at least a couple of times before they come out of prison to help them put together a plan to start a life that doesn’t involve this revolving door of going back into prison.
The main aim of the scheme is to offer offenders the support and motivation they need to stop them reoffending once released from prison and to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle within their local communities.
“My ultimate aim is for them not to go back to prison again and that is what they want too,” added Susan.
“We want to help them to create the life they want and fulfil their own expectations and ambitions by helping them to take those simple little steps in rebuilding their lives.”
The charity has been much supported by the Police and Crimes Commissioner Mr Lorne Green with a substantial grant over the past two years and for the coming year. Lorne has taken a great interest in the work and has presented the training certificates at a couple of previous graduations. We were delighted that he able to be at our Charity Status Launch celebration and again present the certificates to the new mentors.
One of the new mentors is the first of our client users who has joined us as a mentor, he has changed his life around from a long history of offending and while his journey of rehabilitation still continues, he is eager to help others along the path he has travelled. His experience is also immensely helpful to the organisation.
Amongst the guests were several of our other clients who themselves are contemplating becoming mentors. This is really exciting. We have been greatly blessed with space in St Stephen’s Church in the centre of Norwich. This has given us a base in central Norwich where we can meet clients.
Here are some photos from the event which was held in the Narthex Centre in The Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich.