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Celebrating National Volunteers week

We are celebrating National Volunteer’s Week by sharing Maureen’s volunteering journey with the Oswin Project….

With not much previous experience of volunteering I dropped into the Oswin project almost by accident- a visit to Cafe16 at Newcastle Cathedral, reading about the Oswin project and meeting Emma…and here I am a year later.
I started volunteering at Café 16 in the Cathedral working with Clare and her team, it was hard work but enjoyable and lots learnt about the catering industry.
I then got involved in the opening of the Farm shop based on the grounds of HMP Northumberland in June 2023. A big learning curve including Food safety and Hygiene for Catering training and helping to get the shop up and running. It’s always exciting to see all the produce arriving from the prison bakery and gardens, and other products being produced elsewhere within other prisons and by ex-prisoner groups.
There is invaluable input into the success and running of the shop from prisoners (on temporary release) and by ex-prisoners bringing their own skills and knowledge, and learning new ones too.
For me volunteering has been full of interest and new experiences, learning new things and skills, resurrecting old ones and finding a few I didn’t know I had!
Seeing the work of the Oswin project actually happening on a daily basis, seeing its value to prisoners as they near their release and its range of support to those finding their way after leaving prison, its importance cannot be underestimated. The farm shop is an opportunity for the public to appreciate and support that work.
In my experience the Oswin project is always very flexible, appreciative and supportive of its volunteers.

If you would like more information about volunteering with the Oswin Project, please get in touch @
01670 462595

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