Community chaplaincy offers support for ex-offenders
Community Chaplaincy Norfolk (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, as its team explains.
How does it work?
Based on a model established by national organisation The Community Chaplaincy Association, CCN employs a manager: to recruit, train and support volunteer mentors; to assess potential clients; to liaise with the prison authorities, probation, and other relevant agencies; and to allocate clients to mentors.
We are based at the St Stephen’s Church café in Norwich city centre.
“This has been one of the best things I’ve found to help with rehabilitation…I don’t think I would have made it on my own if I’m honest.” CCN Client.
The Client Journey
Our 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, we 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.
Our 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 look at our website and get in touch.
The Wider Community
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. We co-ordinate 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.
A Christian ethos – open to all
CCN is not part of the prison system and, while it is a Christian charity, it is not attached to any one denomination. We welcome clients and mentors of all faiths and none.
For more information
Our website: www.norfolkchaplaincy.org.uk