London, Greater London
£36,000 - £40,000 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Prisoners’ Penfriends is a seeking a diligent, resourceful and dependable new Director to manage the day-to-day operation of our penfriend scheme – and to support the charity as it grows its impact and reach.


About Prisoners’ Penfriends

Prisoners’ Penfriends (PP) is a small, London-based charity that supports the wellbeing of prisoners by extending the hand of non-judgemental friendship via letters and emails. The charity makes it possible for volunteers, in the community outside prison, to write to prisoners in England and Wales – and to do so in complete safety.


PP has grown as an organisation over the past year, extending its reach across the prison estate in England and Wales. Throughout the covid-19 pandemic, with prisoners regularly spending the vast majority of their time locked in their cells, the demand and need for the charity’s scheme has grown considerably.


We are now looking for a new Director to lead the charity on its next stage of growth, to develop the in-house resources needed to run the scheme sustainably, and to establish a clearer picture of the charity’s positive impact.


The Directors duties comprise the following key areas:


  • To lead the charity's paid staff and volunteers in the day-to-day running of the organisation and scheme
  • To oversee recruitment and training of staff and volunteers to support the organisation, maintaining high standards of safety and accuracy
  • To maintain a good understanding of the external social, political and funding environment that could impact on the charity
  • To build an effective working relationship with the chair of the trustee board, including regular reporting and attendance of board meetings
  • To ensure backend database, systems and the charity’s website are fully functional and up to date, liaising with PP’s IT advisor as needed
  • To carry out other practical and administrative tasks as and when required by the board of trustees.


Scheme management

  • To read, record and forward letters and emails between volunteer and prisoner penfriends, overseeing staff and in-office volunteers as necessary
  • To keep the organisation’s records of the correspondences up to date, carrying out a monthly review of all of them
  • To process volunteer and prisoner applications to join the scheme, matching individuals sensitively
  • To maintain the charity’s incident-free record, ensuring no information is passed which may jeopardise the safety and security of volunteers
  • To be aware of any signs indicating risk to volunteers or to prisoners, particularly from suicide or self-harm.



  • To ensure the charity’s procedure and policies are up-to-date, and are effectively applied
  • To ensure the organisation fulfils its legal, statutory and regulatory responsibilities
  • To process records of all communications with volunteers, prisoners and those working in prisons, following PP’s administrative and data-protection procedures
  • To follow all PP’s procedures, e.g. for data protection, and equal opportunities.



  • To help to ensure a sustainable income for the charity, identifying opportunities for growing income and supporting or leading fundraising activities as needed
  • Working with the board’s treasurer, ensure the charity’s financial transactions  and accounts are recorded in an accurate and timely manner, including Gift Aid records.


Communications and relations

  • To ensure effective communications with funders, volunteers, prisoners, and those working  in prisons regarding the scheme and organizational developments. This includes regular newsletters and funder reports
  • To build relationships with prison staff and government officials in order to drive use of the service, discuss a prisoner’s safety, and to further the charity's work
  • To secure insights from scheme beneficiaries regarding the charity’s work
  • To serve as an ambassador and spokesperson for the organisation at events and to media.


Personal qualities

  • Committed to the welfare of prisoners, maximizing the scheme’s impact in mitigating loneliness and depression, and supporting rehabilitation
  • Conscious of the risks involved when putting volunteers in touch with offenders, carrying the responsibility for maintaining an incident-free record for the charity throughout their work
  • Conscientious and meticulous in following the charity’s procedures, and accurate when making and keeping records
  • Dedicated to the charity’s work, which may occasionally involve long days visiting prisons, weekend volunteer training, and work outside of normal hours.



The successful candidate must demonstrate:

  • Strong analytical and financial management skills, to manage budgets efficiently and report in a timely fashion on financial performance
  • The communication and interpersonal skills to motivate and support staff and volunteers; as well as to develop effective relationships with partners, funders and scheme users
  • A strong understanding of governance, in particular with regards to ensuring safety and security
  • The ability to work to high standards of accuracy personally, and to ensure the work of staff and volunteers is accurate too
  • Awareness of the justice sector context in which the charity operates
  • The ability to advocate on behalf of the charity to a range of audiences and stakeholders
  • Experience of successful bid writing and fundraising applications an advantage.


Application Instructions

To apply for this position, please provide the following documents:

• Up to date Curriculum Vitae
• Supporting statement of maximum two pages of A4 – as a word document.

Please outline your interest in the role and your fit against the experience and attributes in the role description.

Prisoners' Penfriends represents a diverse community of people, and is proud to be an equal opportunities employer. However you identify, we would like to hear from you. We are particularly keen to hear from those who identify as being from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; LGBTQ+; and people with disabilities.

If you require any reasonable adjustments during our recruitment processes, please contact us.

More about Prisoners' Penfriends
Prisoners' Penfriends

About Prisoners’ Penfriends

Prisoners’ Penfriends (PP) is a small, London-based charity that supports t... Read more

Refreshed on: 30 September 2021
Closed date: 15 October 2021
Tags: Senior Management, Management

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.