Mentors invited to join Community Chaplaincy Norfolk
Community Chaplaincy Norfolk is in its infancy and, as a young and energetic project, trustees are excited about its scope for growth and impact as ex-offenders are supported upon release from prison.
By Helen Baldry
Community Chaplaincy Norfolk (CCN) had 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. Its inaugural AGM was held on January 25 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral and was a chance to celebrate the work already achieved by the charity and to thank its supporters and volunteers.
Trustee Hugh de Las Casas said, “The greatest opportunity we have is flexibility. We live in a time of great and very rapid social change. We are in a position to meet and challenge this.” Hugh welcomed new trustee Christine Webber on board, to join Val Dobson and Martin Auger.
Often when people come out of prison they feel isolated with no support networks around them. Sometimes they don’t want to go back to their previous circles of friends and get into trouble again. This is where CCN mentors come in. They meet one-to-one with clients at least a couple of times before they are released to help them put together a plan to start a life that doesn’t involve going back to prison again.
Rev Susan Carne heads up CCN. Susan said, “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.”
Susan has worked hard to build up the project but insists that the clients are the real heroes. She said, “Our clients resolve not to go back to prison. It’s a big challenge. For us it’s a joy and privilege to work alongside them.” She added “I have the best job I’ve ever had in my life doing this!”
Dozens of referrals have so far been made to the Norfolk team, who work with people of all faiths and none.
Paula Callam leads the training for new mentors alongside Susan. She described some of the support they offer, for example meeting a client at the prison gate upon their release – often they are overjoyed that someone has come to meet them.
Several of the clients go on to mentor other people as they leave prison. They are the ones with the lived experience so they are best placed to support others. Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green presented awards to some of the mentors and spoke of his commitment to seeing the charity grow.
Become a volunteer mentor
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can attend the next training course
Session 1 Tuesday February 5 Definitions: Together we can make a differnece
Session 2 Tuesday February 12 The Criminal Justice System
Session 3 Tuesday February 26 Communicating for a Change
Session 4 Tuesday March 5 Do’s and Don’t’s
Session 5 Tuesday March 12 The Theory of change
Session 6 Tuesday March 19 Goal setting
All sessions take place from 2-4pm at St Stephen’s Church, Rampant Horse Street, Norwich NR2 1QP
The training course has been produced by the Community Chaplaincy Association. This is a national body that brings together best practice and makes it available to local Community Chaplaincy projects. All CCN’s volunteers are required to do the training so they understand the aims of the project and what is required of a mentor. Completing the training does not commit you to becoming a mentor nor does it commit CCN to accepting you on the project.
If you would like to book a place or find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07465 428456
For more information about Community Chaplaincy Norfolk visit visit https://norfolkchaplaincy.org.uk
Pictured above: Lorne Green, volunteer mentor Jay and Susan Carne