Get involved Volunteer with Pact 5 Reasons to volunteer with Pact Volunteers are the driving force behind our work at Pact. From supporting prisoners' family members through our befriending service and peer support groups to mentoring prison leavers in the community, our volunteers play a vital role in ensuring a fresh start for those affected by imprisonment. If you're unsure whether becoming a Pact volunteer is for you, here are five reasons we hope will convince you to say 'yes'. #1 It's good for you Volunteering can be good for both your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that volunteering actively improves memory function and helps to counter stress, anger, and anxiety; it can also help to combat symptoms of depression. Humans derive high amounts of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) through helping people and making meaningful connections. Volunteering offers you the chance to be in regular contact with others, meet new people, and build a positive social network. If you volunteer for our Family Services, you may find yourself walking and moving more - particularly if you're supporting our children and young people! This improves both muscle and heart health. Moreover, a recent study found that roughly 200 hours of volunteering per year (just 3 hours a week) contributed to lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that even 100 hours of volunteering per year (1.5 hours per week) offers increased energy and better sleep. #2 It helps you to develop your skills Some of our volunteers are highly skilled, while others seek to build confidence and experience through their volunteering roles. As a Pact volunteer, you will receive training, support and guidance from a paid staff member throughout your journey, so it can be the perfect opportunity to try out new things and gain skills in a supported environment. Volunteering at Pact allows you to interact with people from many different backgrounds. Through interacting with staff, fellow volunteers, and our service users, you will build communication skills and empathy and even grow in self-confidence. You'll frequently be able to practise your social and conversational skills, which will benefit your professional and personal life. Volunteering can also give people more of a sense of pride, identity, and accomplishment, so you'll be more likely to have a positive view of yourself and more certainty in your choices and beliefs. If you’re joining us as someone with lived experience of imprisonment, either as a former prisoner or a friend or family member, you can enjoy the same dedicated training and support as any other volunteer. In fact, your experience could be hugely valuable in helping to support others, so there’s no excuse not to apply! #3 You gain criminal justice sector experience and build your CV Volunteering is an engaging, hands-on way to explore your interests and passions. Whether you're joining us as a student on placement or simply looking for additional work experience, you will be helping us to deliver vital services to support prisoners, people with convictions, and their children and families. At Pact, we have a wide array of volunteering opportunities available. Whether you’re interested in becoming a Befriending Volunteer, dedicating your time to Family Services, supporting families in court or working with the Prisoners’ Families Helpline, we have a place for you! Some of our volunteers even take on additional responsibilities (subject to supervision and level of confidence), such as prison-based casework. If you’re joining us on a placement, we want to ensure you’ll leave us with the confidence and skills you need to jump head-first into the working world. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start working for us! Volunteering with us has been described as an emotional, energising, and meaningful task, one that is sure to leave you with a wider understanding of the world around you. #4 You can give back to your community Volunteering means doing good for others and for your community. We aim to combat the social stigma around imprisonment and reduce the harm caused to children and families. There are no doubt individuals in your local area who have lived experience of the justice system – you may have lived experience yourself or know someone who has experienced their own struggle. Volunteering for Pact not only means that you can actively help affected people, but you can help to share your knowledge and experiences with people in your life and help to end the stigma. In fact, one of the easiest ways to ‘volunteer’ is to spread our message that everyone deserves a fresh start. #5 You can make a real difference People often come to us in search of help and emotional support. They need a knowledgeable, non-judgmental person who can guide them through a difficult and often confusing time in their lives. Having that support can be the difference between coping and not. To be there for someone is possibly the greatest gift when it comes to volunteering. We have more than 400 volunteers supporting our services across England and Wales. In our 2022 survey, 9 out of 10 volunteers agreed that they felt they made a difference to their service, and 85% said they would recommend Pact as a place to volunteer. The real proof is in what our service users say: “Overall, my time with my Pact volunteer was invaluable to me. The greatest thing it helped me with was gaining the confidence to continue my life. The support that my volunteer gave to me was unbelievable. It helped build my confidence up so I could then find employment.” Start your journey today! We hope that you make the decision to come join us and help us get one step closer to a society that understands justice as a process of restoration and healing for all. You can find our latest volunteer vacancies at https://pact1.link/VolVac or contact us at [email protected].