2019 saw lots happening at The Butler Trust – and 2020 will bring more…
After the traditional New Year’s announcement of our 2018-2019 winners, in March our Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, presented the Awards and Commendations at the annual Award Ceremony, which was held in St. James’s Palace.
The Princess also made a number of Royal visits throughout the year, meeting our winners and seeing the work happening across various criminal justice settings. These included visits to Karen Laws and Laura Smillie at HMP & YOI Low Newton, Angela Auty and Chris Munn at Plymouth National Probation Service, the National Tactical Response Group HQ in Oxfordshire, Sue Pearson at the Leeds Youth Offending Team, and Mark Coleman at HMP & YOI Woodhill.
Summer saw us welcoming a hundred prison officers, from almost every prison, to our third two-day Prison Officers’ Summer Symposium, held at Oxford University’s Keble College. Between them they brought over 1400 years of experience to the table as they shared insights about their work with senior managers.
Our Director Simon Shepherd’s 17,210 mile tour of all 102 closed adult prisons in England and Wales culminated with the publication of The Good Book of Prisons. He made over two dozen TV and radio appearances (including the BBC’s One Show), talking again and again about the many, many good things that happen in every prison, every day.
Also over the Summer, we were delighted to learn that Mark Le Sage, former Butler Trust Award Winner and long-standing volunteer – and familiar face to anyone who’s attended an Award Ceremony over the past two decades – was awarded a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Behind the scenes, our Sifting Panel read and discussed hundreds of nominations for our 2019-2020 Awards, before passing their recommendations on to the Judging Panel for a final decision. The results are now in and being written up, and will be announced early in the New Year: watch this space (or Twitter, or Facebook). As always, the stories of people and the work they do in the sector were both moving and inspiring.
Meanwhile participants in this year’s Alumni Programme continued to develop and share their good practice. Looking ahead, we’ll be launching a new version of our good practice library next year, too.
We’re always conscious, in this season of cheesy music, festive jumpers, feasts and parties, that it’s a bit different across the criminal justice system. Thousands of staff will leave their families and friends to go into work on Christmas Day where they will try to make the best of it for the prisoners in their care – as they do every day. Meanwhile, those working in probation and youth justice will also be well aware of the risks and difficulties at this time of year for the people they work with.
Yet the urge to share light and warmth – and do something a bit special – in the depths of midwinter is deeply human. Unsurprisingly, criminal justice is full of moving examples of this. Among Butler Trust winners alone, we know of a prison putting on a five-course gourmet dinner for elderly pensioners, of parcels for women prisoners and Christmas pantos, small gifts for children, personalised decorations for staff and prisoners, as well as cards for those on probation. The public might not hear about it, but we know that similar efforts will be happening – and much appreciated – up and down the country.
On that note, wherever you are, we’d like to wish you a merry Christmas and happy New Year.