Big Give appeal raises over £46,000

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Cassie, Head of Fundraising and External Affairs | 21 December 2023

Cassie Edmiston, PET’s Head of Fundraising and External Affairs, takes a look back at the impact you’ve helped us make for people in prison this year.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported our Big Give Christmas Challenge. We were able to raise a record total of £46,121 including Gift Aid.

This will make a significant difference to the number of people we can help in 2024. You are, as the decoration on my tree at home says, amazebaubles!

During a challenging year, I’ve been moved by the support you’ve given us – whether following us on social media, joining us at events or making a donation. Every action and every gift has meant a lot to us all at PET and has been hugely important in ensuring we can help as many people in prison as possible.

During the year we’ve been able to fund 1,340 distance learning courses for 1,229 different learners. We’ve provided information, advice and guidance over 3,400 times.

Thanks to you we’ve helped people like Isaac, who is studying Wiring Regulations:

Handwritten quote from learner: "The course will increase greatly my prospects of employment on my release. It has given me confidence to know I have a future, it has helped me with my mental health and ultimately made me feel more human knowing people were supporting and backing me."

Other good news from the year included revealing the winners of our creative competition, our Inspire Justice Award for Voluntary Contribution to Community Safety and Justice, the brilliant fundraising by our Royal Parks Half Marathon runners, and being awarded a transformative grant by the National Lottery Community Fund.

We reflected on how we’ve progressed after the first year of our five year strategy and we’ve shared learners’ stories, including David who uses his passion for learning to inspire other people in his prison.

Despite the good news, we can’t shy away from the challenges.

Throughout the year we’ve shone a light on the issues facing people in prison and the need to make prison education better. The prison population has risen by almost 5,000 in the past 12 months and sentences are getting longer. With continuing staff shortages, access to education is limited and people are still spending long hours locked in their cells.

Demand for our support has increased by 15% this year compared to 2022. This and increasing costs meant there were nearly 400 people we weren’t able to support this year due to lack of funds.

But amongst this, there are glimmers of hope.

Every time I open letters from our learners, I marvel at their achievements in the face of such adversity.

And of course there are those around them who want them to succeed: my colleagues on the PET Advice Line, the prison staff and educators who go above and beyond, and of course you and your ongoing commitment to PET’s work.

Next year, we will continue to support as many people as possible, reach more of the diverse communities that make up the prison population, and push for better digital access for learners. And this is all thanks to our supporters.

I couldn’t put it better than Nick, who we recently funded to study a Health and Safety course:

Handwritten quote from learner: "I have now completed a number of courses via PET and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. Each of these courses has given me new skills and a renewed confidence towards future employment. I now feel more empowered as a person too due to these skills. PET allowed me to access training and education opportunities that I could not afford and the prison service does not offer. Thank you PET for my future."

If you celebrate, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and I wish you all a restful festive break.

A donation of any size makes a real difference to people in prison. Support us here.

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