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Ana-Julia Van Bilsen Irias

Team Administrator

Charities Aid Foundation

CAF VENTURESOME SUPPORTS PRISONERS ABROAD

  23 February 2018

Venturesome is delighted to have made a loan to long-standing charity Prisoners Abroad, which supports British citizens incarcerated overseas.

Prisoners Abroad is a humanitarian, welfare and human rights charity based in North London that provides information, advice and support for British citizens who are imprisoned abroad, particularly those in countries where standards severely breach prisoners’ human rights. Prisoners Abroad also supports families affected, and helps prisoners with resettlement in the UK when they are released from prison.

Prison conditions around the world continue to deteriorate and the need for welfare support continues to be critical, increasingly in countries which, are unable to feed their prisoners. Many of the UK prisoners overseas that the organisation supports are at serious risk of human rights abuses. The UK government provides a probationary service to UK citizens serving prison sentences, but not to those sentenced abroad. British people, in this position rely on the partnership between Prisoners Abroad and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) consular service for basic needs and life-saving support.

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Prisoners Abroad fills this gap by providing non-judgmental support to UK prisoners abroad and ensures basic humanitarian standards are met (e.g. that food, clean water and medical support are provided). Prisoners Abroad also supports families affected and provides resettlement services to UK prisoners when they finish their prison sentences. Many have spent decades outside the UK and do not have the knowledge to negotiate with a government system which is based on local connections.

Prisoners Abroad works in partnership with a wide range of organisations, both statutory and voluntary, that share their vision and support their work with prisoners, their families and returnees. Furthermore, Prisoners Abroad works closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, to support its clients.

Prisoners Abroad supports - on average every year- around 1,800 UK prisoners abroad in over 100 countries, 2000 family members at home and 350 resettlement clients. Prisoners Abroad’s clients are extremely vulnerable, given the severity of sentences many are serving and the fact that one third are in countries outside Europe/North America where they are often at risk of serious human rights abuses. Furthermore, Prisoners Abroad is the only provider of these essential services- a fact recognised by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Justice who provide some funding to Prisoners Abroad.

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"Prisoners Abroad is such a great organisation to be part of – there aren’t many places where the work you do saves lives, changes lives and opens doors into a new future.  With support from CAF Venturesome we will be able to continue making a real difference for so many people.”

Pauline A. Crowe, Chief Executive

Prisoners Abroad is experiencing an increasing demand for their services and as such decided to invest (and grow) in their fundraising capacity as well as a new office to allow them to respond to service demand. Office space is a specific challenge for Prisoners Abroad– they offer a lot of resettlement services from their office space, so have very specific needs – given the vulnerability of ex-offenders, they require a space which can house interview rooms with appropriate security and safety in mind and to be in an easily accessible central location.

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This enormous social impact combined with Prisoners Abroad’s strong fundraising track record meant that the Venturesome Investment Committee approved a £150,000 loan in order to support the next stage of the charity’s growth, as they invest in a larger office and expanded fundraising team.

Want to know more? Talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.

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