Every year thousands of British people are detained in over 100 countries– often thousands of miles away from home and in horrific conditions and a foreign language which can cause severe physical and mental suffering. The isolation and deprivation experienced by them and their families can be overwhelming and life-threatening. If they eventually return to the UK, they are at risk of homelessness and destitution. 

For over 45 years, Prisoners Abroad has worked to protect the health, wellbeing and basic human rights of British citizens detained abroad. We strive to ease the isolation and deprivation experienced by prisoners abroad and their families at home. On their return to the UK, we prevent their homelessness and destitution and support people to rebuild their lives and have a future free of crime. 

Over the last year or so since I became chief executive, I’ve been working with our staff team, trustees, supporters and partners, and with the people we exist for, on understanding the need, our reach and impact, and thinking about the future.  

I’ve been truly inspired – I have met so many people who have been passionate about the valued services we provide and the life-saving and life-changing impact that they have.  

In looking back at our history since we started in 1978, it is clear that our work as a charity has evolved over that time, seeking to meet the needs that people have, and responding to the opportunities to develop our work.  

The success of any charity lies in its ability to imagine what the future could be and then planning to make that a reality. Prisoners Abroad was started because of the vision of our founders to improve the lives of people affected by overseas imprisonment.  

Our current organisational strategy – ‘building our community of support’ – takes us to 2025, and earlier this year we started the process of determining our strategy for the next five years, from 2025 to 2030.  

The development of a new strategy is an energising, exciting moment for us to raise our vision, literallyIt is a chance to think about what we want to be different and what our role should be in making that happenIt’s a time to set aside – even if only briefly – the anxieties of what is achievable, the limits on our resources, and the hurdles to reaching those goals.    

All of those factors will, of course, come into play as we hone our ideas and ambitions into a viable strategic planBut if we don’t start big with our thinking, we limit those ambitions – and that means we maybe miss things that could have a real impact.  

So now we need your help. We want to hear from you.  

As well as asking our staff, trustees and volunteers for their thoughts and ideas, we recognise that there are two groups of people whose input are crucial for shaping a meaningful and effective organisational strategy, so we would really appreciate it if you could answer some questions about Prisoners Abroad to feed into this process.  

The end result will be a plan that is both ambitious and realistic, where we’re clear on our purpose, our objectives and how we plan to achieve them. 

Hearing from people with lived experience of overseas imprisonment  

We exist solely for the thousands of British people affected by overseas imprisonment every year. So we want to hear from people with lived experience of overseas imprisonment.  

You don’t have to have been directly in contact with us at Prisoners Abroad in the past – of course, we’d like to hear from people who have received our support, but it’s equally important to hear from people who have been in prison overseas but didn’t receive our support.  

We also want to hear from the families and love ones of people who have experienced imprisonment overseas – and no matter how long ago that was.  

We’ve put together a set of questions so we can find out what matters to you. The answers are completely confidential, although there’s an option at the end to opt in to learning more about the next steps of this work to get involved in other ways. 

We’re using Microsoft Forms to collect responses. No personal details are required, and all responses are completely confidential.  

Complete the survey here: https://forms.office.com/e/hS0777ptvs  

As a way of saying thank you, we’re offering a £25 Love2Shop voucher to one randomly selected person. 

Hearing from our supporters 

As a charity, we know we wouldn't exist without the donations and support of our community, so we would also love to hear from you! 

Please would you spare five minutes to fill in a short survey so we can learn more about why you support us and what you think about the services we offer or could offer? As we look to the future, we would very much value your input. 

Complete the survey here: https://forms.office.com/e/5NubMvhMWQ 

Your thoughts and ideas are instrumental in shaping the next five years of our lifesaving work. We ask that you share them with us by Monday 5th August.

Thank you so much in advance for your time. 

Very best wishes,