Note that in the following our original name of the Berkshire Care Trust (BCT) is used
10th January 2020
Dear Berkshire care trust,
My name is Brian and today, through my probation officer Laura, I have been able to go and buy some new clothes with the money you have given me to help me settle back into the community after coming out of Prison. I made the wrong choices, I chose drink and taking drugs, knowing that when I do take drugs and drink alcohol, I more than likely end up in prison. The last time I came out of prison, I had been clean of all drugs and alcohol and stayed out of prison for 2 years 4 months. I lived in a house with two other lads who were also in recovery. After volunteering at the church for 12 months, they gave me 15 hours paid work which I did for 8 months. I attended home group every week, recovery meetings, house groups. I was doing that well. I was in a possition to be able to visit and stay with my mom and sister’s. I really worked hard to stay out of prison, after being in for so long and living a proper life for the first time every day of the week. I can, with confidence, apply for jobs. I can feel neat + tidy when going to church, or appointments I need to attend. I made wrong choices, I put myself back in prison, yet you did not give up on me as a lost course. You really helped me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope this letter helps you see that you have really helped me and you can see that I am so so very grateful for your help, thank you for being there, god bless you all.
A very grateful and thankful Brian
Service User EC was in prison for 13 years on an indeterminate sentence and was released in July 2018 to a Probation Approved Premises. EC’s behaviour and outlook shifted since she secured her own property. She had basic items for her flat but no flooring. She wrote to thank the BCT:
“Hi, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the help with payment for my carpet. This has made a huge difference to me and has helped me in my efforts to create a home for myself. Charities like yours are invaluable to people in my situation in turning our lives around. Once again thank you so much. EC”
John Campbell, Chief Constable — Thames Valley Police
“The rehabilitation of offenders is in the interests of everyone. However we know that those who are released from Prison can remain vulnerable and need support to prevent them committing crime again. Thames Valley Police supports the work of the Berkshire Care Trust in these endeavours and recently provided funds acquired under the Police Property Act to assist them. There are many organisations who bid for such funding, and whilst only modest amounts can be awarded, we always seek reassurance about the effective use of funds to ensure they are put to best use. Every life turned around not only benefits that individual, but also safeguards those potential victims of crime that would otherwise have been harmed. The Berkshire Care Trust continues to impress”.
Matthew Barber — Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Thames Valley (now Commissioner)
“I wholeheartedly support the nomination of the Berkshire Care Trust for the Longford Prize. As Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley I have seen how their hard work, dedication and commitment have contributed positively to the lives of individuals in the area as well as strengthening the community as a whole. The work they do undoubtedly assists individuals in turning their lives around and supporting them in making the right choices, but I am well aware that at a more strategic level they contribute more widely to reducing reoffending and as a result keeping us all safer”.
National Probation Service – John Ennis, Senior Probation Officer
“The Berkshire Care Trust have been a lifeline to service users in the NPS, helping them with basic materials for them to get started on release from release from prison. They are the only charity that helps offenders, in a timely manner, with few questions asked and empathy. The BCT humanise individuals and they are proud to help those who have made many mistakes. Their assistance has made a remarkable difference to people, some of whom have committed serious violent and sexual offences but with the help of the BCT have turned their lives around. This outstanding contribution from the BCT has definitely led to fewer victims.”
Joanna Godfrey – Probation Officer
“BCT funding in my experience is a lifeline for some offenders on their release. Initially without access to resources and sometimes waiting weeks for any benefits to come through BCT funding makes a huge difference to meeting some of the basic needs to offenders, also providing them with hope, especially when they are particularly isolated – knowing there is an organisation who can provide them with a little bit of extra support when they are facing the challenge of resettlement in the early days. Beyond that when making applications later down the line the things that have been approved (usually in my experience for money towards employment related costs, ID or furniture) has a big impact on offenders’ lives and their future. As a PO I am grateful that there is a service I can apply to assist my service users with support. Thanks”.
Community Rehabilitation Company – Laura Mitchell, Probation Officer
“I make quite frequent applications to BCT for funds and not only does it make a difference to service users in need of essentials that are out of their reach for whatever reason, it also makes a difference to my motivation in working with them. This is mostly down to the limited resources and ways in which we can provide practical help for our service users these days – I feel grateful that one of my guys can say he doesn’t have something simple like any pillows or a duvet and that I can actually offer to help! BCT makes this possible. I feel like our hands are tied in so many other ways with how much we can help (particularly with accommodation) and it feels great to be able to offer practical assistance and not feel helpless just listening to their issues with no solution. I get very quick responses once applications are made, and the money can be transferred within a matter of days. This helps with building rapport and trust with new service users as we can offer support and provide it quickly, and also give them a bit of hope and happiness when things can feel impossible for them at times. It has helped some of mine build self-esteem, mostly following a period of homelessness, and being set up with their new bedding/kitchen equipment in a place they can call their own and feel proud again. It is useful for both big and small items; sometimes just as simple as providing a mobile phone to make it easier to comply with community supervision and contact family support. I have had very grateful and happy service users following successful applications to BCT – and this, in turn, makes me very grateful and happy! Big thank you from me to BCT”.
THE INSIDE OUT TRUST — giving back freedom
The Inside Out Trust is the working name of Berkshire Care Trust, a charity registered in England.
Registration number 285886, registered address 15 Shepherds Way, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 6AJ.