'Through the Gate' Key Worker

Volunteer Key Workers engage with people who are soon to be released from prison. Volunteering begins pre-release with weekly meetings in HMP Lewes, for about two months. The Volunteer Key Worker and Service User develop a resettlement plan for the Service User.

The Volunteer Key Worker meets the Service User on release at the prison gate. Volunteering continues for up to six months in the community. At first, meetings are weekly, reducing in frequency after the first three months.

Volunteer Key Workers attend a bespoke three-day core training programme, which draws upon the CLinks course: “Volunteering with Offenders in the Community”. This includes training around interviewing skills appropriate boundaries. This is enhanced by a further one-and-a-half-day induction provided by HMP Lewes.

Volunteer Key Workers are required to attend four Volunteer Support Network Meetings per year, during which they work together to reflect and learn from their experience. We also provide refresher training where volunteers liaise and attend workshops on related topics.

Volunteers are required to send a short report on their progress with a Service User after every meeting, and feedback and support will be provided by the Volunteer Co-ordinator.

The Volunteer Key Worker role involves signposting ex-offenders to the relevant specialist services that they require to assist them in rebuilding their lives, acting as advocate when necessary, establishing clear lines of communication, and making referrals to agencies working in the following areas: Housing, employment, education, debt, benefits, substance abuse and dependency, health and family. Volunteers aim towards agreed targets with Service Users, assessing progress along the way. All meetings are recorded and evaluated.

Upon being released into the community, offenders can be likely to re-offend. Volunteer Key Workers help to build safer communities by working to reduce high reoffending rates.

Sussex Pathways is committed to evaluating the continual progress of its service users and the long-term results of the project.

Volunteering can be demanding but is incredibly rewarding. Volunteers also receive regular one-to-one feedback and support from a coordinator.


We are especially looking for volunteers able to work in Mid Sussex.

Volunteers come from many different backgrounds. We look for commitment and resilience, empathy, maturity, flexibility and the ability to encourage, motivate and support individuals in making positive life choices.

Training, safe management and personal development of our volunteers is a major priority and commitment for Sussex Pathways. You might have had experience coaching, managing, parenting, encouraging or leading personal change. Or you might feel you have these skills and want the opportunity to apply them where they are really needed and valued. Some knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system and / or community services might be useful, but what is really important is a commitment to working with the disadvantaged in challenging circumstances. 

Register your interest

You will be redirected to the Mid Sussex Voluntary Action website

Posted for

Sussex Pathways

Posted by

Mid Sussex Voluntary Action

Register your interest

You will be redirected to the Mid Sussex Voluntary Action website


  • Addictions
  • Mental Health
  • Offenders and Ex Offenders
  • Poverty, Homeless and Housing


  • Advice, information, Support
  • Training / Mentoring


  • Age restrictions
  • DBS check required
  • Disabled Access
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Expenses reimbursed
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Ongoing support
  • Training provided
  • Volunteer induction
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Volunteers covered by insurance
  • Written role description

When can I volunteer?

On these days:

Mon-Fri Day Eve
Weekend Day Eve

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