“I applied to become a volunteer with Friends of Peterborough Prison (FOPP) in January 2010 so have been working at the prison for nine years.
I work in the Education Department, on the male side of the prison, as an assistant to the ESOL tutor, teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages, so all of our learners are foreign nationals. Whilst most of our class are from Eastern Europe at present we have had people from around the world: China, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Russia, Italy and Costa Rica are some that I can recall.
Sometimes I work with someone on a one to one basis whilst at other times I will move around the class giving help to whoever needs it.
The work can be tiring, it can be frustrating and it can be very rewarding. On my last birthday when the nineteen students filed into the class, I felt they were up to something, and they were. As soon as they were all seated they began to sing Happy Birthday – in English (they had been practising apparently) and they handed me a card which had been made by one of them in the art class.
That’s what makes it worthwhile and I can honestly say that I really enjoy my two mornings a week working in the prison.”