What is Bridging the Gap?
Bridging the Gap (BTG) is a voluntary group with a part-time Director, a network of volunteers all over the UK.
What does BTG aim to do?
BTG aims to help reduce re-offending by helping discharged prisoners settle into their communities after release.
Why was BTG started?
To continue the work begun in the early 1970s by Thelma White, a humanist who began befriending people released from prison; she realised that the help they needed was often not readily available.
Who does BTG help?
BTG caters to prisoners before and after release, prisoners’ families, prison and probation staff, students, academics and interested members of the public.
Why is BTG’s help needed?
Life outside can be bewildering at first for many discharged prisoners who receive little or no help from family or friends.
Who delivers BTG’s Service?
All Staff and Trustees are volunteers, they receive no wage for the work they do for BTG. Recruitment of Volunteers is managed by describing volunteer opportunities on BTG’s Websites, on BTG Leaflets and by answering enquiries about volunteering via emails and over the telephone.
What Services can BTG offer?
BTG can provide help with form-filling, explaining changes to the benefit system, pursuing accommodation options, finding free training opportunities, identifying employers who take on ex-offenders, preparing a good CV and developing interview skills.
Employment for many people leaving prison is a minefield, and often impossible to find. BTG help former inmates set up their own businesses and guides them through the paperwork, helping with business plans, seeking funds for starting up etc. We are also setting up our own Jobsite website, this will be live shortly. Employeers can register vacancies for FREE, and prospective employees can see what is available, also for FREE. There is a lot of useful information about CVs, CRB, Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, Banks, etc on that site. As soon as it is live there will be a link in the menu and here.
BTG’s used to produce a Resource CD which listed contact details for Benefits Agencies, Housing Associations, JobCentre+ locations, housing benefits and council tax Offices and Citizens Advice Bureaux across the UK, this is all now going on line on our ‘BTG Directory of Help Organisations’. It is a slow process, but is gradually growing.
Whenever funding is available, BTG runs educational and pre-release programmes to prepare prisoners and ex-prisoners for life outside.
A Speaker can be arranged to talk about BTG’s work and how it can impact the problems that prisoners can face on release.
BTG’s Penpal Scheme facilitates and oversees some 1000 prisoner pen pals.
How can you help BTG?
BTG relies entirely on volunteers and on donations. To become a volunteer or make a donation click the links on the left and you will be taken to the relevant page(s) of our site.