Thanks for your support this year

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Cassie, Head of Fundraising and Communications | 22 December 2021

Postcard from a learner in response to the question 'How is your distance learning course benefitting you?'. The card reads: "My course is giving me a sense of purpose, whilst challenging me in area of learning I was previously afraid of. My tutor has given me confidence and guided me to help me improve along the way. I am glad I chose to do a distance learning course with PET and would highly recommend others to jump in, face fears and give it a go as well!"

As Christmas approaches, it’s a time of reflection. It’s been another difficult twelve months, but inspired by learners like Poppy I’m looking forward to 2022 with hope.

With the challenges we’ve all had to face, the work achieved by my PET colleagues and by the learners we’ve supported is quite incredible. And as always it is all thanks to our supporters’ help.

It’s been wonderful this year to hear and share the stories of PET alumni – Jonathan, Dominic, Garry and Dalton – and to find out how education gave them a way forward.

We even collaborated with another alumna, artist Erika Flowers, to create an animation celebrating the successes of learners in prison.

During the year we launched our new prospectus, a fantastic resource which is inspiring a whole new community of learners to start their studies. Our Advice Line, which enables our learners to contact us directly for advice and support, has gone from strength to strength too, taking over 1,400 calls since January.

We’ve put new feedback processes in place which help us understand how a learner feels at the start of their journey and what it was like to take on a course in prison. This will help us to improve the support we provide, but also understand better the impact education has on someone’s life.

This will build on the positive Ministry of Justice Data Lab research published earlier this year, which shows that participating in one of our courses reduces the chance of someone returning to prison and increases their chances of finding work.

Image from an animation by Erika Flowers showing prison staff celebrating learners' success

Throughout 2021 we have been making the most of opportunities to ensure prison education is high up the agenda for policy makers.

We gave evidence to the Education Select Committee’s first inquiry into prison education in 15 years and published a blog series about how prisons are recovering from the pandemic and what this means for prison learners. Just this month we responded to the new Prisons Strategy White Paper.

We’ve got high hopes and big ambitions for the future of prison education. Led by our new chief executive Jon Collins, in October we launched our new five year strategy which outlines an exciting vision for PET’s work looking ahead – to ensure everyone in prison, wherever they are in the country and whatever their background, has access to education.

Our supporters’ belief in our work gives us all the energy to keep going.

As well as donations throughout the year, this month we exceeded our goal for our Big Give Christmas Challenge, raising £30,000 for our Advice Line and to provide more courses to people in prison.

We are so grateful to you, whether you have donated, shared our work, or read one of our stories. Every action makes a difference and helps PET change lives through education. Thank you so much.

We look forward to sharing our 2022 journey with you but in the meantime I hope you have a safe and happy festive period.

The PET Advice Line will be closed from Thursday 23 December until Tuesday 4 January for the festive period. Our office will also be closed from Friday 24 December until Tuesday 4 January.

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