Get Involved

If you identify as LGBTQ+ and are interested in becoming a penpal as part of the Bent Bars Project, we ask you to read our penpal guidelines. A PDF version is also available.
If you are in prison or are supporting a prisoner who wants a penpal, please see the section for imprisoned people below.
Penpal Guidelines
You do not require any particular experience to become a penpal. The main criteria is that you identify as LGBTQ+ (or along those lines) and that you make a commitment to write regularly (i.e. at least once per month). An ideal penpal is someone who is reliable, open-minded and non-judgmental. A sense of humour is also great!

If you have restrictions about who you want to write to, please consider the following:  


Once you've read our guidelines and are ready to commit to becoming a penpal, please fill out our penpal application form below.

Please note: we regularly receive lots of requests and it may take several months to match you with a potential penpal.
Apply to be a penpal
If you are unable to fill in the online form and require a paper copy, please get in touch.

Monthly Online Drop-Ins: Previously we held monthly in-person drop-in meetings to introduce new people to the project and to provide a supportive social space to discuss any issues that come up for existing penpals. However, due to the pandemic we stopped running these in person. Now we offer online 'drop-in' sessions once a month where we can answer questions and provide support. The date of the 'drop-in' session varies each month, so please get in touch via email and we can let you know when the next drop-in session is happening.

If you have any questions about being a penpal or want more information, don't hesitate to get in touch.

You can also check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.


If you’d like to be involved in the work we do, but don’t feel able to be a penpal, there are lots of other ways to be involved.

Info for prisoners

If you are a prisoner and would like a penpal through Bent Bars or would like more information about the project, please write to us directly at the address below. We will respond with a discrete letter, as we aim always to respect your privacy and confidentiality.

Bent Bars Project
PO Box 66754
London, WC1A 9BF

For friends, partners and family members of prisoners:

If you know someone inside prison who might benefit from the Bent Bars Project, please encourage them to contact us directly at the postal address above. For reasons of safety and confidentiality, we prefer to respond to direct requests from imprisoned people rather than third parties.  But if you have any general questions about the project or would like more information, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to answer any questions you have.  If you are looking for resources to send to someone inside prison, please see our Resources page.