Organisations working with offenders and their families are often not seen as a popular cause to gain recognition for their work. I am therefore delighted that NEPACS won the VONNE Award for Uniquely North East Charity at the North East Charity Awards last night.
NEPACS has been supporting prisoners and their families in the North East for over 130 years. What started as a small project to support men and women leaving Durham prison, is now a registered charity that provides visitor centres, tea bars and play areas at North East prisons; family support workers in custody; and specialist family visits. The also provide a range of training, small grants and caravan holidays. NEPACs small staff team work incredibly hard and are supported by around 200 volunteers, one of whom was shortlisted for the Volunteer of the Year Award.
NEPACS believe that families hold the key to reducing reoffending and ensuring effective resettlement. They believe that if work is done to support the children and families of prisoners, helping them to maintain and strengthen contact, then it improves outcomes for all involved, including prisons.
This year’s awards were organised by The Journal and the Gazette, with winners receiving extensive press coverage. This is an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of a charity working in the Criminal Justice System in such a positive way. More information about the North East Charity Awards can be found here.