Wandsworth Prison links
Putney Methodist Church has been involved with chaplaincy work at nearby HM Prison Wandsworth Prison for many years. It is one of the largest in Europe. One of the ministers at our church is a chaplain at the prison and develops links and networking that support prisoners to prepare for their release and for new lives in the community.
Wandsworth Community Chaplaincy Trust (Change for Good)
Our church was the initial supporter of the Wandsworth Community Chaplaincy Trust, which trains volunteer befrienders who support men during the transition from life inside prison to release into the community. Through using their networks and with befriender support, ex-prisoners have more chance of making a contribution to society and staying out of prison. Other churches support this financially and many across London are involved (Wandsworth Society of Friends and St Mary Magdalen Church, Wandsworth Common, for example).
Each week volunteers from our church lead Christian meditation at the prison. This is greatly appreciated means for the men to help manage life in what is often a very stressful environment.
Our church is also part of the Welcome Directory a national list of churches who have committed themselves to providing a welcoming worshipping environment to ex-offenders.
The magnificent banner (right) hanging on the wall of our church makes a statement about our mission and fellowship. The design, words and images were inspired by the congregation's thought and ideals. The banner was then made by prisoners, working with the charity Fine Cell Work who give men the opportunity to create embroidery, earn a small wage and engage in meaningful training in the prison. It took two and a half years to complete. Sewn into the back are pieces of material from wedding dresses and memorabilia from the congregation.
We also support Changing Tunes by providing an occasional venue for their concerts. Changing Tunes teaches music in the prison encouraging men to play instruments together and supports them in continuing this in the community, helping to provide a constructive social life.