“My name is Vic and I want to tell you my story.

I left Northern Ireland when I was eight years old; I flew with my parents to relocate in Australia and lived there for 62 years. I was imprisoned in Australia and towards the end of my six months sentence I was told I was going to be deported back to the UK. The prison environment is challenging but the real challenge I faced was leaving prison. I was going to be sent back to the UK – somewhere I hadn’t been since I was eight, somewhere that wasn’t my home.

Where would I live? How would I get by? Would I ever see my family again?

I registered with Prisoners Abroad when I was in immigration detention and received information from them to help me prepare for my return. It was such a relief to know there were people in the UK waiting for me.

Without Prisoners Abroad I would have been sleeping on the street.

Rob, my Resettlement Officer, helped me find temporary accommodation for 6 months while I waited for something more permanent. He helped me with the life-saving practical things as well as the day-to-day support. I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do without them and I know others would say the same. Rob gave me toothpaste and shampoo – a few of the essentials to keep me going. I was given a small daily allowance to buy food so I could start taking care of myself again.

What I lost on top of being in jail is way more than I could have imagined. I have been taken from where I built my life and where my family are. Having my family so far away is so hard to deal with, but the emotional support I’m receiving is helping me come to terms with my loss.

I still miss my life in Australia, and I have times when I feel sad as my family are so far away. One day I’ll sit down and think about how much of a struggle it has been, and I’ll think ‘I got there in the end’. It’s because of Prisoners Abroad.

The support I have received has made me recognise how important this charity is and how their life-saving work needs to continue.”