James Stevens-Turner has been involved as a volunteer with BTG since 1980. As a child he was sent to a special needs school before leaving grammar school with no qualifications. A career in the Merchant Navy was brought to an end by a severe spinal injury. James has seen the effects of prison through his relationship with his brother John, who has served a number of sentences.
After a spell as a professional photographer, James moved to Sheffield to study and to work in a Salvation Army hostel. He gained a BA (Hons) in Social Science, a Master of Arts in Criminal Law (Penal Systems), a Diploma in Theology, and a Master of Arts in Business Administration. He moved to Cumbria, married Janet and worked at various jobs including photographer, taxi driver and at a centre running holidays for disabled and disadvantaged children. Around this time, James became group leader for the local Prison Fellowship, eventually becoming area co-ordinator. He and Janet moved to London in 1995. In April 1998, Trinity College, Dublin awarded James a Doctorate of Divinity. Sadly Janet passed away in 1999. James made several visits to inmates on Death Row in the USA.
James's non-working hours are divided between running BTG as CEO and the many other ways he supports like-minded organisations. He also undertakes speaking engagements and training sessions, meeting and helping many people both inside and outside of prisons.
Connor Ingamells/Penpal Co-ordinator, Volunteer
I am currently reading Criminology and Forensic Investigation at the University of Lincoln and looking to graduate in 2014. Coming to the end of my degree I decided I would like to get involved with some work relevant to my degree by working with ex-offenders. It was whilst searching for volunteering opportunites in local prisons that I stumbled across the BTG penpal scheme, and was thrilled to be offered the position as penpal co-ordinator. I have also applied for other voluntary positions to undertake over the summer before my final year of university, including Samaritans and the Appropriate Adult Services. I hope that by volunteering at BTG I can improve the lives of offenders as well as achieve some self-development and experience of my own.
Kath/ Area Rep for Plymouth, Devon, Volunteer
I joined the RAF in 1992, 4 years later I left to marry and raise my family.
Over the last 2 years I became interested in volunteering and promoting awareness.
I found BTG when I was looking for information on writing to prisoners, and found I wanted to do more to help as I now have more time do do so.
In my spare time I like to write short stories, reading, walking and spending time with my children.
Allyce Swift/Area Rep for East Midlands, Volunteer
My name is Allyce Swift and I live in the East Midlands with my family. I am a legal student reading Law at my local university - hoping to eventually specialise in Prison Law.
I am a coordinator for the campaign IPP Prisoners Rights. I am also the area rep for the Midlands for BTG, which in my opinion is a really great group, so I will be posting as and when I find some relevant information that may be of interest to yourselves.
Susan Williams/Area Rep for West Midlands, Volunteer
I have four boys, each of which I am proud of in all different ways.
I became interested in the work of Bridging the Gap, due to my son being in prison. After a short while of receiving help and support, I felt it was my time to give back and help others.
Many people are unaware of help and support that is available, so I hope I can bring my knowledge of the prison journey to assist others.