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Coronavirus Appeal – God is still in prison.

Right now, my heart is breaking for men and women in prison.

Most are spending 23 hours each day in their cells. They eat meals in their cells, complete educational activities in their cells, worship and pray in their cells. They get out for about 45 minutes a day for a phone call, a shower or a walk outside. But not all these things every day.

How hard must this be? These men and women are effectively experiencing prolonged solitary confinement, normally reserved as a punishment for disruptive prisoners and strictly limited to 21 days.

But this is vital for the protection of both staff and prisoners against the coronavirus.

Prison is meant to be a place of rehabilitation, of hope and another chance at a brighter and better future. But this health crisis has created a much harsher sentence.

Most Prison Fellowship volunteers are not currently allowed into prison, and we feel the loss of that ‘ministry of presence’ as an organisation. Yet we are not passive! We know that soon our programmes and that loving presence of our volunteers—showing Christ’s love in a thousand small ways—will be more essential than ever.

Men and women in prison are sorely missing regular human contact
and friendship. They desperately need God’s comfort and healing in
their lives. And so our Chaplaincy volunteers will be ready to offer that
spiritual support immediately once restrictions are lifted.

This Christmas, Angel Tree will take on an even greater significance, as parents try to repair and rebuild relationships with their children who have suffered by not being able to visit and have that all-important contact.

We are working hard to create multiple contingency plans ensuring that, whatever the situation this Christmas, thousands of children can still receive gifts from their mum or dad in prison.

Sycamore Tree will restart as soon as volunteers are allowed back into prisons, to offer men and women the opportunity to deeply consider their past offending behaviour and choose to believe a different path is possible. We have been offering tutors refresher training and training up new group facilitators to be fully prepared for when the gates reopen.

In the meantime, every single week we receive huge piles of letters from our volunteers and from their penfriends in prison. What a gift those connections are! Letter writers in prison are anxiously asking after the health of their volunteer penfriend, and exchanging mutual support.

And so we are boosting our offering—revamping and creating new Letter Link flyers and posters for prisons so that many more become aware of the opportunity to make a connection with someone on the outside.

Let me tell you that we are not going anywhere! For over 40 years, we have obeyed God’s call to show Christ’s love to men and women in prison. And we remain dedicated to that call.

But we need your help. Like many organisations, we are struggling. Although many supporters like you are remaining faithful in their giving, income from our trust partners has fallen as they turn to support other activities impacted by Covid-19. We are dipping into reserves that exist for difficult times like this. But they will not last long.

I want you to know that our desire is not just to survive this crisis, but to come through it stronger than ever—not for our own sake, but because we are desperately aware of just how much we’ll be needed once the lockdown lifts in prisons.

God has not left our prisons! Jesus still walks the landings and wings. He is there with every prisoner struggling with addiction and mental health issues, with every woman who doubts her own self-worth, with every man wrestling with anger, disappointment and grief, every parent desperate to see their children, and every person wondering if there is still hope.

You and I are Prison Fellowship, and we are committed to our calling. Please will you help us emerge from this period of national crisis ready to support those suffering in our prisons?

Your gift today will help ensure that we are better prepared than ever before to bring hope to those in our prisons for many years to come.

 

Make a donation

Your gift will help us support men and women in prison, through the faithful presence of our volunteers, and through our programmes: Sycamore TreeAngel Tree and Letter Link.

Thank you!

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Gift Aid

Gift Aid It!Add 25% more to your donation at no cost to you. A Gift Aid declaration allows Prison Fellowship to claim tax back on eligible donations. It means that for every £1 you donate to Prison Fellowship we can claim back 25p, at no extra cost to you.

By ticking the "Yes" box, I agree I would like Prison Fellowship to reclaim the tax on all qualifying donations I have made, as well as any future donations, until I notify them otherwise. I understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year I may be asked to pay any difference. I understand that Prison Fellowship will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give.

What is Gift Aid?

Gift Aid does not cost you a penny more, but can add an additional 25p to every £1 you donate. When Prison Fellowship receives a donation from a UK taxpayer, we're entitled to claim an amount of tax (calculated at the basic rate of income tax in that year) paid on that donation. Once you have given your permission for us to do this on your behalf, there is no need for you to do anything else.

All that is required is that you must be a taxpayer and that would have paid or will pay sufficient Income and/or Capital Gains Tax to cover all the Gift Aid claimed on all your donations in that tax year. Please note that it is your responsibility to pay any difference.

The amount of tax we claim will be 25% of the total value of your donations in that tax year. Furthermore, if you are a higher taxpayer, you are also entitled to claim the difference between the basic rate which we will claim and the amount of tax you have actually paid. For further details on how you can do this, please contact your tax office. If your tax situation changes and your gifts will no longer be eligible for the Gift Aid scheme please contact us and we will amend your record accordingly.

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Donation Total: £10.00

If you would like to set up a regular gift, you can do so by Direct Debit through the website, or by filling out this Standing Order form and returning it to us. Thank you so much for your generosity!

“I can honestly say that I never had as much satisfaction when I worked as I do now as a volunteer.” — Arthur, Chaplaincy Support volunteer

Volunteer with PF

Volunteers are the life-blood of our organisation, and what they do in the lives of those in prison and as they pray, is incredibly valuable. If you are looking to use your time to support some of the most marginalised people in our society to transform their lives, then volunteering could be for you.

Find out more