By befriending people in prison, New Bridge helps them to reconnect with the world outside. New Bridge is non-judgemental, trustworthy and constant in its support of people in prison. A befriender writes letters, visits the person in prison and keeps in contact wherever the person moves to. Anyone in prison who wants a befriender can apply to New Bridge.
Many people in prison don’t have visits or letters and New Bridge Befriending provides them with someone to talk things over with - someone to trust, who doesn’t put labels on them, who talks straight, stays in touch and doesn’t make promises they can’t keep.
"I've been in touch with my befriender for six months - I always look forward to my letter because I know someone out there is thinking about me and helping me get through my sentence. I'm looking forward to my very first visit and feel better about myself. If I had never been introduced to New Bridge, I would never have got where I am today."
People in prison say that New Bridge positively affects their lives in prison and their thoughts about their future with 92% reporting reduced feelings of isolation and 77% noted not only that their emotional health and wellbeing improved but that their self esteem and confidence are boosted.
More than 250 New Bridge befrienders write to and visit about 650 people in prisons across England and Wales. These letters and visits to those people are an affirmation that there is hope, that you're not worthless, you're not forgotten and that there is a better version of yourself.
New Bridge Befriending isn’t just a pen pal scheme - our befrienders both write to and visit their befriendees. New Bridge Befrienders are attached to the individuals and not to their prison and, therefore, will continue the through moves to different prisons.
New Bridge Befrienders are provided with initial and ongoing training and are continuously supported through our monthly support group meetings.
New Bridge Befrienders come from all walks of life and from various backgrounds. Everyone who becomes a New Bridge Befriender shares a common desire to help people. They offer patience, warmth, understanding and dependability and are good listeners.
Our befrienders commit to supporting people in prison for at least three years. Everyone is encouraged to befriend at least two people by writing to them approximately every two weeks and visiting once every 3-4 months.
We have a recruitment process that includes an interview, participation on a two day training course followed by attendance at two group meetings before getting in touch with your first befriendee.