We strongly believe that every person matters and has the potential to live life to the full. We therefore will treat people with respect and without prejudice; we will listen to their story and try to understand their issues. Developing wholesome relationships is key to successfully helping individuals live a life of freedom and purpose. It is a relationship built on honesty, respect and the mentor’s unwavering belief in the client’s potential to move forward into a new and better future.
As a Christian organisation, Living Hope believes very much in the power of prayer. We believe that through prayer we can access the love and power of God and see circumstances and people change as we bring them to God in prayer. Praying for the Ministry and for individuals is a central part of the work.
Living Hope does not ignore the practical and physical needs of individuals. The challenges for those being released from prison are significant: Addictions, homelessness, inadequate financial resources, unemployment, family difficulties and negative relationships from the past are all factors which contribute to high re-offending rates during the immediate period after release.
We work holistically with prisoners to help prepare them for a positive reintegration back into the community and after their release to counter these pressures, fears and anxieties.
For those in the community, we will continue to meet with them through our mentoring/befriending scheme if that is what they desire. This includes working through practical and life-skill issues.
There has been a steady number of people wanting support from Living Hope, both on a pastoral level during the time of their sentence and also on a practical level as they prepare to be released from prison.
In preparing someone for their release from prison, we will meet with them several weeks prior to their release and help find accommodation if required. In the first instance and throughout we liaise directly with the prison's Reintegration and Chaplaincy Services to best understand the needs and desires of those we're helping. Often including contact with Customer & Local Services regarding any benefits that they may be eligible to receive, family, friends and other agencies in order to make their transition back into the community as successful as possible.
A Prison Officer once commented how he greatly valued our work with prisoners. He said, “It’s great that you not only do the God stuff, but you also help people practically”. We serve prisoners with 'no-strings attached' simply because we see that is how Jesus ministered and we want to represent Him as closely as we can.
As well as supporting individuals, Living Hope has the privilege of working within various other groups:
We lead Sunday Chapel services for all prisoners at least once a month, where prisoners experience a sense of freedom from usual activities to come and worship together with us. This is always a joy and privilege to be a part of.
We lead a weekly discussion group called 'Life Matters', a course based on developing positive values and pro-social attitudes and character. This course proved extremely successful on the Young Offenders Wing and is now being delivered on the Women’s Wing with great response from those who attend.
Freedom in Christ
Living Hope have also led the internationally acclaimed “Freedom in Christ” course for those who want to grow in their Christian faith. Below are comments from those who participated in the course:
“The best course I have ever taken”
“Through this course I have changed so much”
“The course has been excellent!…. Dealing with past trauma and wrong thinking has been an eye-opener and an emotional roller-coaster, but my thinking on these matters is now far more clear.”
“Even though I am in prison my soul is at peace… I know what I am doing, where I am going and most importantly who I am.”