A cross the prison estate, demand for all of Prison Fellowship’s programmes has never been higher. While we are delighted that the need for our ministry is so great, it does present a challenge: how do we go about financially resourcing this new wave of interest?
One good answer is that we equip local people to support their local prison!
Val is a Prison Fellowship volunteer. She has been fundraising for Sycamore Tree in her local prison for a number of years to help ensure that the course can continue running.
Fundraising presents a wonderful opportunity to share the stories of people in prison. ‘I let people know the difference this course makes in the lives of people in prison,’ emphasises Val. She travels to local churches and other groups to share about Prison Fellowship and Sycamore Tree.
Val also hosts events, including one called Charity Feast. She explains, ‘A restaurant will open for an afternoon or evening and put on a special menu. We sell tickets for the event at £20 per person with £13 covering the cost of the meal and the rest given to Prison Fellowship.’ While diners are waiting for their meals, Val will speak with them about our work and provide them with publicity materials.
Getting people together around a meal, a quiz or another event are great ways to create an audience. There are plenty of Prison Fellowship resources available on our website—including a quiz and a PowerPoint presentation— to help you host your own event. You can also request printed resources from our Support Team.
Alongside the meal, Val hosts a raffle. She has been amazed at the generosity of local businesses in supporting the cause. Prizes have included a free valuation for your home from the estate agent, luxury toiletries from the pharmacy and produce from the butchers. This is a great way for local businesses to support and acknowledge that people in prison are part of their community and are worth investing in.
The harsh reality is that it is difficult for people to care about prisons and the people inside them if their own lives have not been directly impacted by crime. Events like these not only raise the profile of Prison Fellowship but also remind people about the lives lived behind bars.
If people leaving prison feel like they have a stake in their local community and positive relationships with people around them, they are less likely to reoffend.
Fundraising events can build the foundations for communities to be places that help to facilitate the continuation of the rehabilitation process. People leaving prison can then feel encouraged and inspired to continue to contribute to their local community.
As well as raising funds for Sycamore Tree, Val helps support the funding of Angel Tree at Christmas. She asks people in local church communities to buy a specific present for the child of a parent in prison. Individuals then purchase the item, giving a further sense of investment into a specific family.
Whether you are thinking of hosting a Charity Feast like Val’s, a quiz or your own idea for an event, we will be happy to provide you with resources and
friendly advice. And if you have any fundraising tips to add to Val’s, get in touch to let us share them and support others to enhance their fundraising efforts.
If you would like help to host a fundraising event or generate awareness of our ministry to support the record demand for our programmes in prison, we’d love to hear from you. Contact: email@example.com or 020 7799 2500.