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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Change lives by giving time

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6:24am 2nd June 2011

Prison Fellowship  (click here for more info) is launching a drive for Christian volunteers to support its extensive work in England and Wales prisons as part of National Volunteers Week 2011
(1st-7th June ).

Prison Fellowship, through its volunteers, works to restore the lives of prisoners and victims, and their families. 

The volunteers support these groups in practical ways and help to break the cycle of reoffending.

The charity specialises in Restorative Justice through the successful Sycamore Tree programme and involves volunteers in Letter Writing, Prayer Groups and the Angel Tree scheme, which provides Christmas presents for prisoners' children.

Chief Executive Natalie Cronin said today:

 "Volunteers can make a huge difference to so many people involved in our prison service and I urge Christian men and women to get involved in trying to reduce the cycle of reoffending by offering real hope to those involved in and effected by crime."

In a series of short films for the Prison Fellowship YouTube Channel, to be broadcast over the next few weeks, Prison Fellowship volunteers stress the massive importance of volunteering in the current political and economic climate.

Revd Shawn Verhey, Coordinating Chaplain of HMP/YOI Thorn Cross Prison, says:

 "You can go into a prison and you can bring healing to the victims, offenders and communities, just by getting involved in that Restorative Justice process."

"You can change a life and you can make a difference."

Volunteer Brian Drinkwater, in his film, will explain:

 "Don't be reluctant, here's a chance to change lives: to make a difference to the Big Society we hear so much about. I had never been in a prison before, it was outside my comfort zone, but I soon felt the respect of prisoners and the Chaplaincy team."

Meanwhile Malcolm Carter said that, having spent 20 years as a Chaplain in Walton Jail, he is convinced that volunteers have a massive role to play:

"Volunteering is a glorious work: these men and women are at the bottom of the heap - the volunteer might be the only contact this person has with the outside world."

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