Beyond Recovery is excited to announce that its innovative ‘Letters of Hope’ scheme is evolving. New developments are now afoot for the letter-writing initiative, which has gone from strength to strength since its introduction over a year ago.
Letters of Hope was born during the UK’s first ‘lockdown’ in Spring 2020. The scheme resulted from Beyond Recovery wanting to stay connected with the men with whom they were working at HMP Onley but could no longer visit. So, the team wrote weekly letters to the men, filled with messages of hope and encouragement.
Letters of Hope started with just a handful of writers within Beyond Recovery’s team. But over the months, more and more people came forward to write as volunteers. Since then, the Letters of Hope team has written to individuals in prison every week and has sent almost 400 letters!
Making an impact
Kate Mathur, a mentor for Beyond Recovery, has been coordinating the Letters of Hope scheme for many months. “We write about anything and everything, but the overriding message is one of hope and love – always pointing back to the wisdom and wellbeing that lies within us all”, Kate explained.
“I love being a part of our letter-writing family and coordinating the letters each week. One of my highlights was creating an advent calendar filled with messages of hope, wellbeing challenges and inspirational quotes and pictures, which was so well-received by the men in Onley. I was also delighted that our team contributed lots of wonderful ideas towards creating Christmas cards for the men and that we received heartfelt responses to our letters.”
Beyond Recovery had an incredible response to its show on National Prison Radio earlier in the year. Specifically, people from across the prison network have requested Distance Learning Packs in increasing numbers. Beyond Recovery developed the packs to enable people in prison to work remotely through a specially designed wellbeing programme.
As a result, Letters of Hope has evolved. Beyond Recovery has matched each person in prison with one of its wonderful volunteers. The volunteers will continue to write to them while offering them support and guidance for completing the Distance Learning Packs.
Jacqueline Hollows, Beyond Recovery’s founder, commented: “This new development for our Letters of Hope scheme gives our volunteers a great opportunity to continue to connect with people in prison through writing letters while also mentoring them through their distance learning opportunity. The impact on our prison learners will be significant, helping them to feel supported and to recognise their innate wisdom and wellbeing.”
National Volunteers Week took place at the start of June, so Beyond Recovery took the opportunity to say a big thank you to all its Letters of Hope volunteers. They wanted to recognise people for giving their time to write lovingly to those they may never meet, helping to spread love and hope. So each volunteer was treated to coffee with a friend via a Costa voucher. It put smiles on lots of faces!
If you would like to know more or are interested in joining our family of mentors and writers, please contact us.