Note that in the following, our original name of the Berkshire Care Trust (BCT) is used in the earlier testimonials

Feedback from SC, Probation Officer is Reading, May 2024:

I managed to take P.A. shopping this morning where I was able to buy him new shoes, socks, waterproof trousers, a power bank, £10 phone credit and a soft drink with the £80. This enabled him to have comfortable dry clothes and is now able to communicate with supportive organisations helping with his rehabilitation….He was so pleased with the essentials bought for him that he called me later in the day to profusely thank us for helping him – so I just wanted to pass on the gratitude shown and personally thank you for your valuable support 😊      

Feedback from LS, Probation Officer in Slough, May 2024:

Just to feed back that PB was very appreciative of assistance in buying clothing. PB has historically been challenging to engage and has generally viewed the Probation Service as focusing on restrictive measures rather than a support too. This assistance seems to have helped improve the attitude he holds and we are now able to engage him more meaningfully.

Feedback from GG, Probation Officer in Slough, May 2024:

  1. This PoP has been on probation for about 25 years. He suffers with severe ADHD and has really struggled to maintain any real stability in the community for the entirety of his adult life. Due to your support with a citizenship card, he was been able to apply and gain a volunteering opportunity with a local charity, where he has been for the last 6 months. He has also completed his CSCS card, providing him opportunities for appropriate employment. The support offered through the inside out trust provided him with the motivation and self-efficacy he needed to desist from further offending, allowing him to feel like he is capable of giving back to his community and repair some of the damage he feels he has caused throughout his life. For the first time since he was 19, he is about to successfully finish his licence period.
  1. This PoP was released from custody after 2 years with nothing but the clothes on his back, which were significantly stained and worn. Within 24 hours of his release, I was walking down Reading High Street with him, and able to purchase him some basic items such as clothes, a pair of shoes, shower gel, and a toothbrush. Not only did this make a massive difference to how he felt, with him saying he felt “human again”, but it also had a positive impact upon the working relationship that he has with probation officers.

Feedback from YI, National Probation Service, West Berkshire, in April 2024:

The Inside Out Trust has been an oasis of hope for the People on Probation. Their swift and empathetic response to our requests for
support has profoundly impacted the lives of those on probation. The Trust’s contributions, ranging from providing basic essentials to covering fees for courses, have been pivotal in stabilizing our cohort members’ lives and supporting them in forging new paths.

These efforts have not only improved their daily living conditions but also bolstered their determination to stay on the path of rehabilitation and social reintegration. Thanks to the Trust, many have been able to mend and strengthen family ties and become proactive members of their communities, ultimately leading to a noticeable decrease in recidivism rates.

We are deeply grateful for their continued support and the significant difference they make in turning lives around by providing support.

Feedback from AW, Thames Valley Police, in August 2023:

I have used TIOT three times now and have found the process to be very smooth and the money to have been granted with a quick turnaround. This is extremely beneficial as sometimes the requests are last minute due to the nature of our cohort’s circumstances.

I have received funding for a bike which has allowed a cohort member to travel to see his family more frequently, this has been crucial in maintaining his support network and as a result he remains free of substances and is continuing to do well with engaging with other agencies.

I have also received funding for two other individuals for equipment to help with their living situation, both completely different circumstances.

One individual was already set up in his flat but due to mental health episodes his fridge/freezer and oven were damaged, the funding received for this allowed for these items to be replaced so he can start to store and cook food at home which we hoped would alleviate some of his financial pressures with him eating out.

The other individual had moved into supported living and was not provided with any home items, he had also been in and out of bail addresses and had lost the majority of his clothing. The funding provided by TIOT allowed us to provide him with some new clothes and the home items to get himself set up, the young person was so happy / grateful that this had been provided and it made him have a sense of pride around keeping his belongings safe and clean.

Without the funding provided by TIOT we would struggle to access full funds for items as above and it could mean that our cohort members do not make positive steps as a result. A lot of our cohort members do not have a lot and due to the chaotic lives that they lead it is difficult for us to repeatedly ask for items from the same organisations. TIOT provides us with the capability to purchase items that really aid in setting up our cohort members and allowing them to remain on the right path.

Feedback from HK, a Probation Officer in Reading, in August 2023:

The Inside Out Trust recently were able to support us in funding a wheelchair for a person on probation with severe mobility issues, due to long waiting lists with occupational therapy and a broken wheelchair without your support he was unable to access the community and this was having a detrimental impact on his mental wellbeing. Since the arrival of the wheelchair he has been able to independently access support groups, get outside, access therapy and generally improve his social life which has had a marked improvement on mental wellbeing and as this is so closely linked to risk has started to offer the stability needed to look at reducing the risk level down. He and I greatly appreciate the support after attempting the more typical channels and it has made a big difference to his life.

A further referral for someone else I made was for support with furniture for a flat, He was very proactive in finding housing despite the difficulties with that in the current climate and greatly appreciated the support in making it liveable with a sofa and bed. He is now in a position to be able to regain contact with his son and provide a suitable environment for him to stay. This level of stability and focus has meant again we are able to look at a risk reduction for him due to the level of protective factors he now has.

Feedback from LG, a Person on Probation, in August 2023: “since having the new carpet, it feels like I’m in a home now not just a random Crack house. I am grateful for everything The Inside Out Trust and Browns do to support me, I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere.”

Feedback from PJ, a Person on Probation, in June 2023: “Thanks to funding from Browns and Inside out trust, the course has had an immensely positive impact on my general motivation as I feel I am gaining new skills whilst also plugging the gaps in my knowledge which has of course be vital when presenting to prospective employers. The fact that I am on an accounting course alone is an interview selling point as it enables me to illustrate my commitment towards an accounting career and show that I am proactively trying to get my life and career back on track despite the difficulties I have had in the last few years.”

Kaltrina Pajaziti, a Probation Officer from Reading, ran the Wokingham half marathon in February 2023 in order to raise funds for TIOT to thank us for our support to her People on Probation (PoPs).

Feedback from CD, a Probation Officer from Reading in January 2023: I have used The inside Out Trust for over 4 years and made several referrals. I am always amazed at the generosity they have for those we manage that are often the most vulnerable in society. I have had a vulnerable female face immediate homelessness over Easter weekend when all agencies were closed. The Trust within an hour helped fund an emergency BnB. The Trust provide support when its most needed and we are lucky to have access to such an amazing organisation.

Thanks 😊

Feedback from NG, a Probation Officer from Reading in December 2022: “I had one person – bought white goods.  Was accommodated here in Reading, not where they originated due to exclusion zone.  Felt isolated, but now able to have a home and also have their dog come live with them, which means they feel as if they have a home again after some time and aids resettlement.  Not sure about the desistance really although feeling of part of the community aids them to integrate and having a home is more than just a roof over head.”

Feedback from SB, a Probation Officer from Reading in December 2022: “When I’ve used The Inside Out Trust it really means a lot to People on Probation (PoPs), I’ve used it before to be able to get work boots for people, clothes for when people are released as well as funds so people are able to gain suitable ID, citizen’s cards, Provisionals Licences, etc. There’s a lot of barriers for some people when they’re released with little/no ID, clothes, etc. and it’s a stepping stone because with ID they’ve been able to apply for jobs as well as set up bank accounts easier, start driving lessons which then help their employment opportunities, with clothing they feel like a brand new person and it helps their mentality when they feel like they look good and they’re always excited at the prospect because a lot of people haven’t had that before. Even when going out shopping with a PoP with the funds if it’s for new clothes in Primark etc helps a PP and PoP build that therapeutic relationship. I’ve used it to get work tools for someone before and he cried at the thought he’s now able to provide for his family and be a good example to his children by them watching him go out to work and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help from The Inside Out Trust.”

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”.

Registered Charity No: 285886
Supported by: Berkshire Community Foundation; Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley; Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust

Contact: info@theinsideouttrust.org

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.