Feltham Community Chaplaincy is a faith based mentoring organisation which offers support to young men leaving prison.
Our aim is to help resettle them back into the community and ultimately to reduce re-offending.
We recruit volunteers and train them as mentors. Once trained, they are matched with a young man who they then support ‘through the gates’ into the community.
Our volunteers are passionate about helping these young men, and this is what makes the difference.
- Within a 3 month period 1099 young people offend: 327 of these go on to reoffend.
- Annually, 1095 reoffenders commit the same offence.
- On average, they will reoffend 3 or 4 times.
- More than 50% of prisoners come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust was set up in 2004 by the chaplains at HMP Feltham and has a multi-faith ethos. They felt that the young men leaving prison needed more support on the outside. Not just support with their faith, but also with their practical needs. The chaplains recognised the good work that was delivered in prison through the chaplaincy department to bring about change, but it all fell by the wayside when the young men left prison as they had little or no support. So, the chaplains started our charity to continue the work and to help young men resettle into the community.
Peter was born in East London and grew up with two siblings in a council flat to Ghanaian parents. It was a comfortable living situation and he had a Catholic upbringing and education. He always had a boisterous personality and ended up in scrapes. When his parents sent him to Ghana for two years to learn about the culture, he gained a diploma in IT, which he then used to access Sunderland University in the UK, where he studied computing.
Peter had a great start at university but after about a year he fell in with the wrong crowd and got into fraud. Fraud was prevalent at the time and he discovered that he could use his computer skills to make money through online activities. His fraudulent activities gathered momentum and, encouraged by his crowd, he soon began recruiting and the group grew so large at one point he didn’t even know how many people were working for him. He was now the head of a large fraud racket.
A few run-ins with the police led to him being incarcerated for eight months, which didn’t deter him as he had people looking after his business while he was inside. He returned to fraud and continued for about four years. During this time, the police put him under surveillance and eventually raided his house and arrested him. He was convicted for two and a half years, leaving behind his partner and new-born baby.
This time, he felt remorse and decided it was the last time he wanted to find himself in prison. He also took his bible with him into prison and had a lot of time to read and reflect on it. As a result, Peter joined the Chaplaincy Department, attending bible study and services and got involved with Feltham Community Chaplaincy Trust. He engaged with a mentor in prison, did the work and when it came to leave, they walked through the gates into the community together. He got a job soon after leaving prison, married his partner, and continues active Christian worship. Peter now wants to become a mentor and help others like himself.