Firstly, a practical note; We have recently changed our official name from 'Wandsworth Community Chaplaincy Trust' to 'Change for Good Community Chaplaincy Trust'. We have been using the working name of Change for Good for a while but wanted our official name to reflect our commitment to men leaving prison across all of London. We will keep our previous emails open for the time being, and all internal prison emails and CJSM emails will remain the same. Please update any contact lists accordingly:
General email: Admin@changeforgood.info
Project Manager: Josh@changeforgood.info
Project Worker: Stephen@changeforgood.info
I thought I would share with you two recent conversations that have stayed with me while reflecting over this period (with names changed for anonymity). Gavin had been street homeless for most of 2021, until recently, when he was recalled back to prison. While most of our conversation this year was over a hot meal in a café or in probations offices, it was now through a cell door. Lost for words of comfort, I asked him if there was anything he needed - and he said his only wish for Christmas was to have enough funds to make a phone call to his family. A couple of days later, when our support group was asked what they were most looking forward to at Christmas, many (including myself), went straight to describing in detail our favourite components of a roast dinner (parsnips for me). As this conversation died down, Chris, who had remained in quiet contemplation until this point, described the heart-breaking phone call he had with his partner from his prison cell this time last year, and the crushing isolation as the little beep rang through the phone meaning time was up. Chris went on to say that this year, he felt enormous gratitude for being able to wake up in his own bed, having the freedom to open his own door, and most importantly, seeing his loving partner across the Christmas table.
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for all your support in what has been another strange year. To the volunteers for all the check-in calls, meetings in cafes and journeying alongside men for what is often the most vulnerable and isolating time of their lives. To the team of dedicated trustees who work tirelessly behind the scenes, without which, none of our work would happen. To our project worker Steve who, when faced with challenging situations, continues to show compassion to everyone he meets. A special thanks to the members of our support group, who have responded to times of trouble by putting an arm around each other and encouraging everyone to keep taking the next step: you truly reflect the spirit of this charity.
A special thanks to; The Chaplaincy, Management teams and resettlement workers of HMP Wormwood Scrubs, HMP Wandsworth, HMP Ford and HMP Brixton; Community Chaplaincy Association; PACT; St Mary Magdalene Church; St Luke's Battersea; the Methodist Central Hall Westminster; the Tudor Trust; the Maurice and Hilda Laing Trust; the Methodist District Advance Fund; the Wimbledon Foundation; the Lloyds Bank Foundation; and all our generous individual donors. We wish you all a very merry Christmas. Josh Brettell Project Manager