London Housing Foundation have announced a £120,000 grant to support the work of Prisoners Abroad for the next three years.
Prisoners Abroad is a human rights and welfare charity based in Finsbury Park, which for over 45 years has supported vulnerable people affected by overseas imprisonment. Initially set up to address basic welfare needs and isolation of British people in prison overseas, it has expanded to also support the family members of those in prison and assist the resettlement of people returning to the UK after their sentence. Their Resettlement Service plays an absolutely crucial role in reducing homelessness in London and helping people to rebuild a positive life after overseas imprisonment across the UK. LHF have agreed to fund the resettlement service for the next three years.
Theresa Gilson, Head of Service Delivery at Prisoners Abroad said:
“The need for this service is clear: landing in London after serving an overseas prison sentence, our service users often arrive disorientated, with no support network, few belongings, little money and nowhere to sleep. We help people access a GP, sort their benefits, and support them in accessing short and then longer-term accommodation. We know that over three quarters of our service users would have had to sleep rough without our help, and almost nine out of ten said they would have gone hungry as well. The LHF grant will help us to provide a tailored service for ex-prisoners not available elsewhere and deliver a range of practical support including resettlement packs with phones and food vouchers for new arrivals.”
In the last financial year, 91 people were newly returned to the UK in need of resettlement support and over 300 accessed the Resettlement Service.
Someone who has used the Prisoners Abroad Resettlement Service said:
“During the last two weeks of my time in the USA I was so stressed and worried. I had nothing, nowhere to go, no one to turn to. I thought I was going to be on the streets which caused an emotional breakdown. Arriving back in the UK, Prisoners Abroad turned me from the absolute bottom of negative to the top of positive within a few hours. It was incredible.”
Ian Brady, Executive Chair of London Housing Foundation said:
“We are very pleased to be able to support the crucial resettlement service that Prisoners Abroad provide. It is essential that people arriving back in the UK have the right support and help to rebuild their lives and do not get drawn back into a world of reoffending and homelessness.”