Event to mark 25th anniversary of centre

Long-serving volunteers from HMP Northumberland's visitor centre receive thank-you gifts as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations.
Long-serving volunteers from HMP Northumberland's visitor centre receive thank-you gifts as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations.

A North East charity celebrated the 25th anniversary of the official opening of the visitors’ centre at HMP Northumberland (formerly HMP Acklington and HMYOI Castington) with a celebration event on Monday.

Nepacs’ staff and volunteers now welcome around 29,000 visitors each year at the facility and also provide support for prisoners with family issues.

The centre has a small café, play area for children and lots of advice and information on a range of topics.

It was officially opened on April 29, 1993 by HRH The Princess Royal in what was HMP Acklington, a category C men’s prison.

In 2011, HMP Acklington was merged with the local young offenders institution HMYOI Castington into the newly named HMP Northumberland, which is now run by Sodexo.

The anniversary was celebrated with a birthday cake and joining in the celebrations were staff from the prison, the High Sheriff of Northumberland and Nepacs’ staff and volunteers past and present.

Visitors’ centre team leader, Liz Arthur, said: “The centre has undergone many changes over the years since it opened and we continue to look at ways to improve the services and facilities we provide for visiting families and to make the difficult experience of visiting a prison as easy and painless as possible.

“Our staff and volunteers take pride in going the extra mile to offer help and support.”

For more details about volunteering opportunities with Nepacs, call Emma Price on 0191 3757278.