Community Chaplaincy Norfolk (CCN) are delighted to announce that they have been awarded a grant of £10,000 by the Garfield Weston Foundation. This will be utilised to support our “both sides of the gate” work with ex-offenders.
CCN supports the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders by the provision of practical support, information, advocacy and pastoral care, both from within prison and after release in the wider community.
CCN receives approximately 50 referrals for people released from prison each year to receive mentoring, resettlement and community-based support. We manage rolling case-work, supporting between 20 to 30 ex-offenders at any given time, including offering crises interventions via our Community Drop-in space located at the St. Stephen’s Church Cafe.
CCN currently supports a dedicated team of 20 Volunteer Mentors, with a further cohort currently in training. The recruitment and training needs for new and existing Mentors are studied carefully as a continuous process, with the need for further courses and recruitment closely monitored at all times.
Clients are most often serving prisoners who are scheduled for release into the local area. Appointments are made in prison to discuss the service remits. Assessments provide a summary of priority areas including family and social circumstances and background, clinical and emotional needs, likes and dislikes and aspirations for the future.
Mentors are paired with a prisoner (Client) prior to their release. This time is used to prepare for a more co-ordinated and planned transition back into community life. On the day of release, the Mentor will meet the Client at the gate and spend time with them to negotiate what are often complicated and challenging changes. Clients are often disorientated and more vulnerable at the point of leaving prison. Therefore, it is vital that a trusted Mentor is there to offer support at this critical juncture, providing time for the Client to acclimatise to their new surroundings and circumstances.
The Mentor then meets the Client regularly (perhaps once a week) and also provides telephone support, so that the Client and Mentor can remain in regular contact to discuss progress for as long as it is needed.
The people we support are often struggling to manage complex needs especially during times of transition from prison to community life.