Volunteer opportunities

There are lots of ways to support Nepacs and prisoner's families in the North East by volunteering. Nepacs was started by a voluntary society more than 130 years ago and today volunteers are still at the very heart of everything we do. Our team of dedicated volunteers are helping to support prisoner's families and friends, and are also helping to promote the important role of family ties in assisting an offender's rehabilitation. There are a wide variety of opportunities available to suit a diverse range of skills and interests. 

Are you friendly, approachable, non judgemetal, good at listening and willing to learn? If you are we would love to hear from you. 

Our volunteering opportunities are available Monday to Sunday. Weekends are one of our busiest times to support families and children, if you are free on a weekend you can check which roles we have available here. If you are an early bird these weekend opportunities can start at 8am. A minimum of 3 hours would be greatly appreciated in all of our roles and we can fit the volunteering around your current commitments.  

Volunteering for Nepacs can make a real difference to your own life and the lives of thousands of people who are serving a sentence on the outside when a relative is sent to prison. Hear first-hand from some of our volunteers here.

Find out about the process to become a volunteer here and our application form here: Word version and PDF version, and equal opportunities form to be returned with the application form here

See what days and times we need volunteers here and find out more about the current volunteer opportunities with Nepacs below.

Admin Volunteer - Admin volunteers will help to ensure the smooth running of all office based systems and administration in the Visitors’ Centres. Tasks will include filing, archiving, photocopying, data input and administrative aspects of volunteer recruitment. 

Location: This opportunity is available in HMP Holme House Visitors Centre

court_volunteerCourt Duty Volunteer - The purpose of the Nepacs court project court duty volunteer is to offer advice information and support to families. Having a visible presence in the court and using telephone support, volunteers support families by listening and offering information and advice when someone close to them is sentenced or remanded in custody. Families of prisoners often say they feel isolated in their community and unable to cope. Volunteers aim to help individuals by offering a listening ear, a helping hand and friendly support to help family make the next steps.

Location: Teesside Magistrates and Crown Courts, Durham Crown Court, Newcastle Crown Court

family_support_volunteerFamily Support Volunteer - Volunteers in this role will offer 1:1 support, information and guidance to families of prisoners, and this may lead to contact with prisoners. The volunteer will be offering a listening ear and emotional support as well as signposting people to other agencies, and offering some practical support. The setting is different in each prison so this outline reflects a general description which will be tailored to suit each context and after discussion with each prospective volunteer.

Locations: HMP Kirklevington Grange in Yarm, HMP Holme House in Stockton, and HMYOI Deerbolt in Barnard Castle, HMP Northumberland, HMP Durham, HMP Low Newton

Family and Parenting Service Volunteer - Nepacs Family and Parenting Service works with people released from prison and their families on behalf of Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). We offer support, information and advice to ex prisoners, whose families may have multiple needs, about parenting and making and maintaining contact with their children (where appropriate).  We also work with those who may have relationship issues with their partners or adult family members. Volunteers will assist with weekly drop ins, training sessions and listening support for people released from prison.

Locations: CRC Newcastle, CRC Gateshead, CRC Sunderland, CRC South Tyneside, CRC North Tyneside, CRC Northumberland.

Heading Home Volunteer Heading Home is a project that has been designed to help prisoners and their families prepare for release. The periods of release and resettlement can be a challenging time for families, often because family members have different expectations and concerns about how life will be once their relative has left prison. The project offers support to families through two interventions. The first intervention is a listening and signposting service called Re:Settle, and the second intervention, Re: Connect, is a group programme that will be delivered in prison with prisoners and will involve families attending a meeting with their relative in the prison. 

Locations: HMP Holme House in Stockton, HMP Kirklevington Grange, HMP Northumberland, HMP Low Newton, HMP Deerbolt

play_area_volunteerPlay Area Volunteer - Volunteers in this role will offer support and a warm welcome to all children who are visiting their parent/family member. They will be responsible for setting out toys and equipment before visits begin, and tidying and checking toys after they end. Volunteers will play games with the children whilst they are in the Visitors Centre waiting to go for their visit. Once in the prison visits hall when the visit is taking place volunteers will play games with the children with the aim of encouraging the child to regularly return to the person they are visiting. In this project our main concern is for the welfare of the child and in particular the need of the child for good quality contact with his or her imprisoned parent or relative. Volunteers can limit their help and support to the Visitor's Centre if they prefer not to enter the prison.

Locations: Visitors’ Centres at HMP Durham, HMP Frankland and HMP&YOI Low Newton in Durham, HMP Holme House in Stockton, HMYOI Deerbolt in Barnard Castle and HMP Northumberland near Morpeth.

tea_bar_volunteerTea Bar Volunteer - The tea bars play an important role in the prison visits room. In provising refreshments volunteers support both families and prisoners, help to create a social atmosphere, enable the visitors to do something for the prisoners, ease tensions and generally contribute to the quality of the visits. This role is based in the prison visits hall inside the prison. At Kirklevington Grange, Tea Bar volunteers can also assist with Special Family Visits if this is something they would like to do. 

Locations: Visitors’ Centres at HMP Durham, HMP Frankland and HMP&YOI Low Newton in Durham, HMP Holme House in Stockton, HMP Kirklevington Grange in Yarm and HMP Northumberland near Morpeth.


Visitors’ Centre Volunteer - The Visitors’ Centres exist to meet the needs of adults and children visiting relatives or friends in prison.  They aim to offer a safe, pleasant environment where all visitors are met with dignity and respect, provided with the facilities they need and offered information, support and the opportunity to discuss the difficulties they may face in confidence. Volunteers in this role will welcome and register all visitors arriving for a prison visit. They will support families who are waiting to go into the prison for their visit by offering listening support, providing information to first time visitors,  and they also serve refreshments. The Visitor's Centre is based outside of the prison.

Locations: Visitors’ Centres at HMP Durham, HMP Frankland and HMP&YOI Low Newton in Durham, HMP Holme House in Stockton, HMYOI Deerbolt in Barnard Castle and HMP Northumberland near Morpeth.

youth_project_volunteerYouth Project Volunteer - The Youth Project provides an opportunity for young people who are visiting family members in prison to relax, have fun and chat about their concerns with a trusted adult and feel less isolated and stigmatised.  Volunteers in this role will provide support and information for young people affected by the imprisonment of a family member. They will help out in the youth zones based at Visitors Centres, and assist with trips and residentials for young people. Volunteers will also offer 1:1 telephone support to young people with the potential of offering additional support by meeting up with young people.

Locations: Visitors’ Centres at HMP&YOI Low Newton and HMP Frankland in Durham and HMP Holme House in Stockton as well as in the community. 

Head Office Opportunities

Would you like to come and gain experience in a busy, vibrant head office in the North East? Our current roles at our Head Office in Durham City are below:

Admin Recruitment Volunteer- The aim of this role is to support the Volunteer Coordinator with all administrative tasks related to volunteer recruitment

Digital Social Media- The purpose of the Digital Social Media volunteer is to focus on digital communications and PR, particularly online and social media platforms

Market Research Volunteer- The purpose of the Nepacs Market Research volunteer is to gather and collate information on key individuals using the internet and telephone, and build a direct marketing database for use by the organisation.

Promotions and Marketing Volunteer-This volunteer will support the Communications and Development Manager/ Volunteer Coordinator to raise awareness of Nepacs and promote the volunteering opportunities available. 

If you have your own ideas about how you would like to contribute your time to support the aims of Nepacs please call us to discuss this on 0191 375 7278. We are always looking to develop new volunteering opportunities and would love to hear your ideas.