A new helpline has been launched to support people in the North East navigating their way through the criminal justice system.
Nepacs introduced the new initiative in September to offer information and support to individuals, their families and loved ones at the point of arrest, at court, throughout a prison sentence, and on release. Their friendly team of helpline volunteers are available to offer a listening ear to those who need someone to talk to, and provide important information about processes and next steps.
The new helpline is part of the charity’s ‘Early days in custody’ project which is funded for three years by National Lottery Reaching Communities fund and a legacy gift donated to Nepacs from the Newcastle and Northumberland Police Courts Mission Fund.
The helpline team can be contacted by: Freephone 0800 012 1539, Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Text 07983 437 457 and is open: Monday and Friday 12noon - 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am - 2pm.
The,helpline coordinator Emma Price, said: “The first few days when a loved one is sent to prison can be the most difficult and distressing time for everyone involved.
“The new helpline will enable us to help those in the north east impacted by a loved one being sentenced to custody and trying to come to terms with the difficulties they are facing, such as problems with housing, finances, children, and health and wellbeing
“Our helpline volunteers work closely with our teams in north east courts, prisons and visits areas, and our youth project team to ensure families or friends are offered the support they need to get through this difficult time and are signposted to relevant services in the community which can help them.”
Nepacs is recruiting more volunteers to join the helpline team. Volunteers will enable families to feel informed as they navigate their way through the criminal justice system, and will help people to stay connected in this challenging situation. If you are friendly, non-judgemental, patient and have excellent listening skills the charity would love to hear from you. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Nepacs volunteer coordinator by email or call 0191 375 7278.
For more information about the support available to families or friends with a loved one in a north east prison HERE.