VOLUNTEERS are being called on to visit Eastwood Park Prison as part of a scheme to support prisoners.

The Volunteer Prison Visiting Scheme at the all-female prison currently has 18 official visitors, but more are being sought out to help shorten the long waiting list of prisoners who have requested the support.

One unnamed visitor said: “I felt called to become a prison visitor in 1993 in a different prison. I went through those prison gates on my first visit - very nervously!

“Now I visit at HMP Eastwood Park. The women I meet are sometimes the same age as my daughter.

“Their parents are frequently unable to visit because they live so far away and I remember thinking that first time, and since, if my child was in prison and I could not visit, I would be glad for someone to go in my stead.”

A recent questionnaire of ‘customer satisfaction’ attracted 100 per cent positive responses from the women being visited and many expressions of gratitude and a sense that these visits truly make a difference.

Prison visitors are supported by the chaplaincy staff. Regular meetings are held with speakers, visits to different parts of the prison and the opportunity to discuss experiences and questions with other prison visitors.

Anyone interested in finding out more are asked to contact Beryl De Stone Beryl.DeStone@hmps.gsi.gov.uk or Tony Williams Williams.Anthony@hmps.gsi.gov.uk for a preliminary visit.

Alternatively people can call 01454 382105 and leave a message with contact details.