SueRyder - Volunteering, prisoners, and ex-offenders

Following the riots in the Summer of 2011, there was a recognition amongst many in the voluntary and community sector of a shared responsibility of a broader community remit, beyond the specific aims and objectives of their organisations.

However few mainstream volunteer-involving organisations have the skills and confidence to consider engaging with prisoners and ex-offenders. Resources are stretched, skills and experience are limited, and a fear of negative public perception is a real ‘blocking’ factor.

This paper reflects discussions with Carol Davis, Prison Volunteer Programme Coordinator at Sue Ryder on their pioneering Prison Volunteer Programme. As a mainstream VCS organisation themselves, their progress has much to teach and inspire the wider volunteer-involving community.