By Ralph

Ralph* was deported from Australia to the UK in October 2019. He was forced to leave behind his long-term partner and without Prisoners Abroad, Ralph would have faced rebuilding his life at the age of 80 completely alone.

In October 2020, Ralph wrote to us again to share the following update. 

“It is now one year on from the day I was deported away from my partner of 39 years and my home in Australia. My first few months in the UK were challenging in a number of ways; I remember feeling a mix of confusion, loneliness and anxiety.

Nevertheless, with the help of the wonderful and dedicated people at Prisoners Abroad, things had begun to take shape and I had managed to overcome a number of difficulties. 

And then, come March 2020, things started to become less stable again.

Since the Coronavirus introduced itself, I have been forced to self-isolate as I was deemed to be extremely vulnerable to the pandemic, due to my age.  Thankfully, I am still receiving a lot of support from the Prisoners Abroad team. Amber, my Resettlement Officer, checks up on me by phone every week, which gives me enormous peace of mind.

Just before the virus struck, I had begun to make a few friends by volunteering my time in the community - this also helped to keep me busy.  However, as I am now an 81-year-old, my vulnerability to the virus meant that from March I could no longer go out and speak with people.  This makes me feel more isolated and means that my catch-up calls with Amber have become so important. Knowing there are people who care about me is a great comfort.

Prisoners Abroad still supports me in so many ways. Recently, a Resettlement Officer called Nadine personally brought me my suitcase from Prisoners Abroad’s office, which had been closed due to Covid. Nadine arrived outside my flat and carried the suitcase up the stairs, which would have been difficult for me to do myself. I was so grateful for this act of kindness as all my winter clothing was in that case. 

I have no immediate family, all are deceased, so Nadine’s compassion gave me a real warm and contented feeling: I was now cemented as part of the Prisoners Abroad family.

I really feel for the people who will return to the UK this winter after serving their sentence abroad. When I returned, the first few months were isolating and stressful enough without the restrictions of a pandemic. For the people who are returning now, integration is much harder and a lot of the services that were previously available are not anymore. Prisoners Abroad may well be their only support. 

I continue to miss the company of my partner who still lives in Australia, however, we have now accepted the situation. 

Coronavirus aside, I consider myself to be in a reasonably good place which would not have been possible without my involvement with Prisoners Abroad. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point by supporting such a wonderful charity.”

*name changed to protect identity

Relieving loneliness and isolation.

Prisoners Abroad supports people who return to the UK after prison; we find them somewhere to stay, provide grants for food and travel, and help them take the vital steps to a new life.

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