Susan Hill presents BBC Radio 4 Appeal

5 Sep 2014

On 14 September Prisoners’ Education Trust’s new patron, award-winning author Susan Hill will appeal to BBC Radio 4 listeners to help people in prison access quality education.

In its 25 year history, PET has enabled 28,000 people to study a range of courses in subjects and at levels not otherwise available in prison.

Susan Hill said: “I’m proud to be a patron of PET. Education changes lives by helping to break the cycle of crime that people can get caught up in. I share their belief that everyone should have the opportunity to change, and PET helps people to do that.”

This summer Susan met PET’s alumni, Frank and Catherine, in the British Library. They are both living crime-free lives after discovering PET whilst in prison. After completing a proof-reading course Catherine is working in her dream job in PR, while Frank has a thirst for learning and seven years after being released he is now in his final year of university.

Rod Clark, PET Chief Executive, said: “Learning in prison works. We know this from stories like Frank and Catherine’s and from robust evidence showing that learners who study with us are more than a quarter less likely to reoffend."

“We provide courses to suit learners at all levels, they can study in their cells or take the courses with them if they are moved to a new prison. But to keep helping people study and give them an opportunity to move away from crime we need funds. Please listen to our appeal and give what you can. Thank you.”

As well as changing the lives of many prisoners, rehabilitating people through learning makes our communities safer. Providing prisoners with advice and funding to study a range of distance learning courses gives them essential skills which help prepare them to get jobs, volunteer and continue with learning. It costs only £450 to provide a course and essential advice.

But though education has helped him gain employment, Frank says it has done more for him than that.

“I’ve always been a taker but now I’m a giver – to my family; I have sons and grandchildren – I also give to the wider community through the mentoring I do. It’s allowed me to join in society and to give something genuinely back. I used to wake up in the morning and think where am I going to find the money to sleep somewhere tonight? That was thinking about myself. I find myself now thinking about Syria."

PET’s BBC Radio 4 Appeal will air on 14th September at 7.55am and 9.25pm and all week at www.bbc.co.uk/radio4.