These are the usual steps involved in signing up to become a volunteer for Friends of Peterborough Prison. Please be aware that it can take up to 3 months before you receive clearance to go into the secure areas of the prison. Expand each heading to get more information. If you need to download a copy of our application form you can do so by clicking this link.
The first contact can occur in a number of ways. Some may find out about us through this website, others may hear about us by word of mouth and many will come to us through PCVS (Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services) who advertise vacancies on our behalf. By whatever means you have found us, please get in touch (details on our Contact Us page), and our Volunteer Coordinator will send you a personalised email (or a letter if you don’t have access to email) including an application form and a link to this website. You will be asked to complete the application form and then phone to say you are ready to apply to become a volunteer. At this stage you will have a discussion about which roles you are interested in and what positions might be available depending on your availability and experience.
Because our volunteers will be working with vulnerable adults or children, you will be required to submit your details to the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) so a check can be made of your criminal record. This is what takes the time and is why we state at the outset that the application process may take up to 3 months, although it can sometimes be much quicker than this.
Our Volunteer Coordinator will ask you to upload your details ready for the DBS check before you come in for your initial interview. All DBS applications are now processed online, and you will be given a personalised link to the prison website where you can start the application by uploading the requested details and supporting documents.
Once you have uploaded your details for the DBS check you will be invited in for your initial interview with our Volunteer Coordinator, who will validate your application by going through your application form with you and then checking your DBS online details. When both of you are happy with all this, your DBS application will be formally submitted via the Sodexo (prison) network. You must now be patient and await the outcome of your DBS check.
Your final interview will take place once you have your DBS clearance. At this stage you will sign the Volunteer Agreement and any other related paperwork and discuss your proposed volunteering role in detail. You will be asked to make yourself familiar with the contents of our Volunteers Handbook, which contains a lot of general information as well as your responsibilities and agreements as a FOPP volunteer.
You will be taken into the prison to be photographed and fingerprinted so your biometric details can be loaded onto the prison access control system. You will also receive your FOPP badge and lanyard.
Our Volunteer Coordinator will now be able to let the prison know that we have a new volunteer available to help in the prison and they will decide on a suitable placement, bearing in mind your stated preferences and availability. Once this has been confirmed, you are ready to start your volunteering role. Whenever possible, you will be shepherded in for your first shift by an existing volunteer who can answer any queries and just make the start of your volunteering experience as easy and friendly as possible.
You can always check out the First Days part of our website if you are unsure what to expect when you turn up for your first shift. And remember our Volunteer Coordinator is always happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.