By Sam Powell, Trust Fundraising Executive

As I approach one year at Prisoners Abroad, it’s been a good opportunity to look back on my time here so far and everything I’ve learned working at such a unique organisation.

Before joining Prisoners Abroad I was, like most people, relatively unaware of the circumstances in which hundreds of British citizens in prison overseas find themselves each year – let alone their family members and people returning to the UK after their sentence. My knowledge was limited to a few high-profile cases in the news. However, over the past months I’ve come to learn how terrifying these situations can be for the thousands of people we support each year, and just how vital the services provided by Prisoners Abroad are in helping them.

I joined the fundraising team last Spring as a trust fundraiser. My role involves researching charitable trusts and applying for grants based on whether we match their criteria. It also involves ‘stewarding’ trusts that already donate, providing them with updates and reports on the impact that their grants are having. Explaining what Prisoners Abroad does to prospective funders has been a brilliant way for me deepen my understanding of what we do, both in terms of fundraising and the services we provide, and I feel very grateful to have been able to learn from colleagues who are so talented and passionate about such an important cause. 

Sam, pictured left, with our Trusts team

In order to accurately describe our work to prospective funders, we need to have an insight into all aspects of our services. This means we have the opportunity to attend regular meetings and have ad hoc discussions with caseworkers about everything they’re dealing with. This is an aspect of being a fundraiser that I particularly enjoy, as it’s fascinating to hear the breadth of challenges the team face from day to day and how they use their extensive knowledge and expertise to deal with these issues. It’s very gratifying to have the opportunity to weave these stories and statistics into the applications we put together and share with donors what a huge impact their grants can have.

National careers week feels like an appropriate time to reflect on what has been a new step in my own career. I feel very proud when I talk about Prisoners Abroad’s work, and I am inspired – but not surprised – when people are so interested in and sympathetic to the cause and its non-judgmental focus on fundamental human rights. I also feel very lucky to be part of an organisation that has kindness and compassion as a guiding principle in everything it does, and I look forward to continuing my contribution to its vision of providing hope to those who need it most.    

Being offered a lifeline can change everything. 

Prisoners Abroad translates human rights law into practical life-saving actions by providing prisoners access to vitamins and essential food, emergency medical care, freepost envelopes to keep in touch with home and books and magazines to help sustain mental health.

Can you help to support our life-saving work by donating today?