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Norfolk charity supporting ex-offenders appeals for financial help

PUBLISHED: 15:40 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 26 November 2019

CCN project leader Melanie Wheeler, centre, with new mentros Marcia Fenwick, left, and Doreen Cochrane. Picture: Keith Morris/networknorfolk.co.uk

CCN project leader Melanie Wheeler, centre, with new mentros Marcia Fenwick, left, and Doreen Cochrane. Picture: Keith Morris/networknorfolk.co.uk

Archant

Its mentors spend their time helping others, but now a Norfolk charity is appealing for support to continue their work.

CCN board of trustees chairman the Rev Matthew Hutton. Picture: Keith Morris/networknorfolk.co.uk.CCN board of trustees chairman the Rev Matthew Hutton. Picture: Keith Morris/networknorfolk.co.uk.

Community Chaplaincy Norfolk (CCN), a member of the Community Chaplaincy Association covering England and Northern Ireland, has a dozen mentors who support those recently released from prison at HMP Norwich and HMP Wayland.

But the charity wants to recruit more volunteer members and secure more funding going forward to support their work.

Speaking at their first AGM on Wednesday, November 20, board of trustees chairman the Rev Matthew Hutton warned that their current funding via grants from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, Lorne Green, soon expires.

He said: "Our budget for 2019/20 suggests that on March 31 next year we will have no more than two months' expenditure in the bank.

CCN project leader Melanie Wheeler. Picture: Keith Morris/networknorfolk.co.uk.CCN project leader Melanie Wheeler. Picture: Keith Morris/networknorfolk.co.uk.

"At that point our current funding will have come to an end and so we now are in active search for some £160,000 payable over a 40-month period, or £4,000 a month, from next April."

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CCN's mentors work with ex-offenders from the day of release from prison to help support their transition back into society.

They currently support 18 former inmates at Norwich and Wayland prisons, but are looking to accept referrals from others across the county.

Project leader Melanie Wheeler is at the head of a recruitment drive, trying to find more mentors of all faiths and none to help with their work.

She said: "When ex-offenders come out of prison they often face bewilderment at an unrecognizable society which can be alien to them. Even crossing the road can be difficult or using the internet and adapting to freedom of making own choices. In prison the pace of life is slow and every minute of time is controlled - they are told what to do, when and for how long.

"Our mentors can offer practical help - accompanying clients to appointments, mediating, offering advice, access to other provision, locating and accessing services.

"We can help clients to look for accommodation through the Pathways service, and finding meaningful activities to stave off boredom - which is often a trigger for offending behaviour - building their self-worth."

If you can help with funding or want to volunteer as a mentor, contact Melanie at manager@norfolkchaplaincy.org.uk.

Quotes courtesy of www.networknorwich.co.uk.

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