Prisoners given helping hand to stop re-offending by Weston-based couple
PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 June 2018
A former charity which helps ex-prisoners reintegrate into the community has been registered with Companies House.
New Beginnings 4U Community Interest Company (CIC) was set up as a charity nine years ago by Peter and Patricia Hilder, who live in Weston.
It aims to support prisoners both before and after their release to prevent them re-offending.
Peter spent time in prison for financial deception, serving at Horfield Prison in Bristol and Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire, and now wants to help others in the same position.
He said: “In 2008, I spent 14 months in prison for deception, a short time in HMP Bristol and the remainder of my sentence in HMP Leyhill, an open prison in Gloucestershire.
“So having experienced prison life I know what it is like to feel desperate, lonely and full of guilt, and to experience every other emotion you can think of.
“I was blessed to have my wife and family supporting me, but many inmates are not so fortunate and that is where we want to help.
“Our aim is to befriend the prisoner while he is in HMP Leyhill, visiting on the first weekend of each month, listening to their troubles and difficulties, and giving advice, if asked, that we have gathered over the past nine years.
“Since we started nine years ago 42 lads have passed through our care – 12 are self-sufficient and we send Christmas cards and birthday cards, but they know they can phone us if they have a problem.
“Ten are either in hostels or in their own flats but still need our support on a weekly basis, and the remainder are mostly in Leyhill but we do have four guys scattered in HMP Whatton, North Sea Camp and Belmarsh either doing specific courses or waiting to be re-allocated.”
The CIC is able to take offenders out on release on temporary licence and to attend parole board meetings.
Volunteers also welcome prisoners at the gate on release and help provide them with clothes, a mobile phone, TV and bicycle.
New Beginnings 4U held a spring fair at Milton Baptist Church on June 2 to raise funds for its work.
Dozens of stalls selling everything from cakes and jams to cards and glasswork was open to supportive visitors.