Could you help a former prisoner reintegrate into society?

What is the role: Mentor for recently released prisonersnew-leaf

Who is the role for: New Leaf Project

When does the volunteering take place: We visit offenders whilst still in prison to discuss their needs, priorities and prepare a plan for their release date. Once this is established, we will match a volunteer mentor with the mentee and arrange a meeting between them, whilst the mentee is in prison. Once both parties agree to go forward with the support plan, the mentor will accompany a New leaf driver to collect the mentee from prison on their release date, (if required). On this day the mentor will accompany the mentee to any appointments they may have and then take them home. The volunteer mentor will then meet with the mentee once a week in the community, to support and assist them with any concerns they may have. Support is there for as long they require and feel it is making a difference.

Where does the volunteering take place: Once a week in the community – usually a local café, or the mentor can accompany the mentee to a probation appointment.

What is involved: The mentor’s role is to offer support in the community, by listening to what the mentee has to say, help them plan and achieve goals, offer advice and support as required with education, training, employment, addiction, debt, relationships and accommodation.

Why you should sign up: Social disadvantage and exclusion is a major issue for many ex-offenders. Many can find it hard to reintegrate successfully with their families, friends and community and struggle to find somewhere to live, get a job and overcome personal problems. Approximately 68% of adult offenders re-offend within 2 years of being released but evidence suggests that with the right support, re-offending rates can significantly reduce. Having the support of a mentor can make a significant difference: giving the individuals confidence and strength to move forward with their life.

Skills required for this role: This volunteer role is open to anyone who feels they have time, character, energy and commitment to support an offender through the challenging first weeks after release. You would need to be able to meet your mentee weekly and to be available to them by phone at hours you agree with them. New Leaf will provide you with a mobile phone.

Qualities volunteers will need are:

  • Non-judgemental, determined, reliable, able to work within agreed boundaries. You will need to complete paperwork to support the mentee and to provide a record of your appointments.
  • Due to the nature of this role full training is provided. You will be required to have an enhanced DBS check and provide references
  • Ideally you need to be able to commit to volunteering for a year

How to sign up: Anyone who would be interested in becoming a New Leaf Volunteer. Please visit the New Leaf website and complete the volunteer application form.