As it is Trustees' week, we wanted to recognise our brilliant board of trustees; the time and enthusiasm they give, and the experience they offer to Prisoners Abroad. Each day we will post a short account about what inspires one of them, and why their role as a Trustee is important to them. 

Lynn Saunders

Lynn Saunders talks about the Prisoners Abroad Resettlement Service:

"The Prisoners Abroad Resettlement Service is great, and the staff involved in the service are an inspiration. This area of work interests me most of all the really impressive services the charity provides. People returning to the UK often with no money, nowhere to stay and no support in this country are unquestionably cared for by Prisoners Abroad and found accommodation, clothes and the basic necessities so that they can survive and essentially start to take steps to rebuild their lives. They are not judged by what they have done, they are treated as people not offenders and supported with both kindness and practical services. Information is provided to them so that they are able to adjust to a situation most of us cannot begin to imagine ourselves in. The team offer hope and a future. As a trustee I am proud to support the work of Prisoners Abroad."


                                            The Prisoners Abroad Resettlement Area

Read more about Lynn and our other Trustees or read more about how we help people after release from prison.

Chrissie Ashley

Chrissie talks about the Prisoners Abroad Family Support Groups, that once supported her and her family: 

"Prisoners Abroad has many projects that inspire me, but the one that I can relate to the most in the Family Support Groups. I feel that this is a particularly vital lifeline to families, as without these Support Groups and Family Information Days the families would sometimes have no-one to talk to, not know where to get information on their loved, or just feeling very isolated. When I have attended these Support Groups and upon talking to the families, they found it very difficult to come along and often could not bring themselves to attend. However, in all the cases in which I've spoken to other family members they said that once they did pluck up the courage to attend they felt so welcome and so relieved that they were not judged and they felt enormously grateful that someone cared and actually listened to them. Overseas imprisonment is such a difficult time for everyone and people often feel ostracised from their friends, families and work colleagues, so coming along to a Prisoners Abroad Support Group makes people feel like they can talk openly and honestly about their feelings. 

                                        Prisoners Abroad Staff preparing for a Family Information Day

Find out more about Chrissie and our other Trustees or discover more about our Family Support and Events

Richard Price - Chair of Trustees

"Being a trustee at Prisoners Abroad means I can help save lives in a way I never thought I could."

My involvement gives me an opportunity to make more than a financial contribution to the charity and help support the organisation’s commitment to developing its strategic objectives. It may be a ‘back room’ role but by ensuring we run an organisation with great governance, we can support more people with our life-saving work.  Of course this includes reviewing with other trustees and the senior management of the charity, its financial and organisational plans and contributing to the discussion about how best to ensure the charity is well governed and its staff and volunteers well supported.  But it is by doing this that we make it all happen – supporting people in harsh conditions around the world, families with no one else to turn to, and people returning from long sentences with no connections left in the UK.

Being a trustee enables you to gain insight into how the charity works, the services it delivers and its aspirations for the future. As a trustee, I can help to shape the organisation’s future – that in itself means my support makes a real impact.  What also makes being a trustee fascinating and rewarding is that you are dealing with very important issues which are critical to the charity’s survival and prosperity and you do this alongside other trustees whose background and skills may be quite different from your own. This means that you learn such a lot, not only about the charity and the people it serves but also from the experience and skills of other trustees and you have to be a real team to achieve what you need to do.  It is great to work with such a diverse group many of whom I am not likely to have met under other circumstances.

I bring to the board of trustees of Prisoners Abroad my experience in marketing and communications as well as a range of experiences derived from running my own business as well as working in the public sector. Other trustees bring their experience as lawyers or people involved with prisons; as medical doctors, accountants or business people, together with people working in the voluntary sector as well as former service users who have experienced imprisonment overseas or as a family member with the experience of a relative being detained in custody outside the UK.  Together we make a formidable team and we enjoy bringing our quite different skills and abilities to the benefit of our service users.

As Chairman of the Board of Trustees, my job is to bring together trustees’ diverse experiences and skills through discussion and decisions taken at board meetings and in working groups. We have some very interesting discussions and the input from those trustees who are former service users often helps us to see things from a different perspective.  Also along with the Vice Chairman and Treasurer I work closely with the Chief Executive to help shape the agenda for our discussions and keep the Board “on track” given that time is inevitably limited for discussion at board meetings. Helping to foster a shared commitment to our work as trustees has been one of the most rewarding aspects of being Chairman and I have learnt so much during my time as a trustee that it remains a privilege to have been given the opportunity to be part of this unique organisation and to have a key role in the impact Prisoners Abroad makes on so many people’s lives.

Find out more about Richard and our other Trustees or have a take a look at our impact.