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Community Chaplaincy

What is community chaplaincy?

Community Chaplaincies work alongside prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, offering mentoring and holistic support within prison, through the gates and out in the community.

Background to community chaplaincy

Community chaplaincies are independent faith based voluntary organisations providing resettlement support and mentoring for people leaving prison. Community chaplaincies usually start their work in prison, meet the individual at the prison gates on release and provide on-going support in the community for as long as needed.

Community chaplaincies take a holistic approach to meeting people’s needs, working with each person as an individual and respecting their needs and goals. Mentors work with mentees in a variety of ways including: signposting mentees to resources and advocating on their behalf, supporting progress and listening to mentees’ concerns, encouraging pro-social attitudes and behaviour, supporting family contact and demonstrating hope and optimism. 

The first community chaplaincy organisations in England and Wales were established in the early years of the 21st century. The development of this work, alongside other faith-based responses to the problem of re-offending, received support from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS - now known as HMPPS). In 2006 NOMS sponsored the employment of a community chaplaincy development officer by the organisation Clinks.

What makes our approach different

Community Chaplaincy projects seek to provide holistic support for people, that is; practical, emotional, relational, developmental, social and spiritual.

Projects work with people of all faiths and none. It is not zealous outreach, although it will respond to those who wish to explore and develop their faith, whatever faith that may be.

  • Community Chaplaincy engages with the lives of many people in our society who are in deep trouble; disaffected, judged in the popular press, depressed and anxious, affected by troubled family relationships, or suffering from drug misuse issues. In short, already in prison.

  • Our society’s culture is not one that encourages long term relationships, delayed gratifications, civic responsibility, personal depth or self respect. It is inevitable that many people fall foul of the law and find themselves in prison.