“Just receiving letters is a big thing for prisoners. We all love to get them.” Prisoner, HMP Dartmoor
“It would be easy to shut myself away and not have anything to do with the outside world, but I know it is important for me to have communication. I never knew what family was when I was growing up and I never learnt how to love.” Prisoner
“The letters…. have always been so friendly and uplifting.” A prisoner
Our Letter Writing programme enables prisoners to feel valued and supported while in custody. We have over 150 volunteers who are trained and writing to people in prison.
Why do we do it?
Prisoners often feel extremely lonely and isolated, and many have lost touch with their family and friends on the outside. We believe that something as simple as writing letters can make a huge difference to the lives of prisoners. A letter might be the only communication a prisoner receives and can provide huge encouragement and a link to the outside world.
How can I get involved?
- Fill out our volunteer application form to become a Prison Fellowship volunteer or come to a training day to find out more
- Find out where the training days are happening by looking at the events in your region
- When you have completed your form and sent references in you will be invited to attend a training day
The Letter Writing programme is growing and is a great way to get involved if you don’t have a prison near you.
You can also donate to the Letter Writing programme.
How does the scheme work?
- Volunteers apply and then attend letter writing training
- Prisoners sign up to the scheme through the Chaplaincy in the prison
- We then match prisoners and volunteers and put them in touch
What our letter writers say:
“I have gained a great deal from being a pen friend, as well as hopefully being a listening ear and offering friendship to often very lonely and rejected people.”
“For anyone considering Letter Writing, Prison Fellowship have an excellent training module and your letters will make such a difference to somebody, somewhere serving a sentence!”
What the prisoners say about letter writing:
“My volunteer has been there for me through some tough times. When I was down and thought of taking my own life, it was the letters of encouragement that kept me strong. There needs to be more people like this in the world.”
“It has been a worthwhile experience for me, keeping me up to date with what is going on in the outside world. We have a good platonic friendship. We talk about all sorts of things. I remember once, when she told me that she had watched a cat chasing a mouse! Just ordinary normal things like this remind me of the world out there…I think letter writing is good for those who are totally on their own. I only get three visits a year, but my regular letters give me insight and I hope I can be a comfort to her when she has troubles.”