Since March, prisoners have been facing immense difficulties under the lockdown – confined to cells for up to 23 hours a day, with very limited work opportunities, no education classes, no exercise, association or visits from families. At the start of lockdown, prison libraries almost all closed and few library staff were able to remain on duty. Give a Book have been working to get more books into prisons and to prisoners. More than ever we are grateful for the ongoing support of funders who understand the need for flexibility and additional support in these difficult circumstances.
The Matrix Causes Fund is a charitable fund administered by Matrix Chambers. The Fund provides support to organisations in the UK and internationally which promote access to justice, equality of opportunity or a sustainable environment. Matrix have supported Give a Book in the past with funding for Books in the Nick, and now support our Books for First Nighters project. Matrix are also supporting our response to the lockdown in prisons, allowing us to supply additional books quickly where they are needed most. We think that it is wonderful to see the Criminal Justice sector supporting charities working in this area. You can find out more about the work of the Matrix Causes Fund here.
Since the beginning of lockdown, we have been able to send consignments of books to over 40 prisons, as well as restocking 9 prison induction wings with our Books for First Nighters project. We have also continued to support prison reading groups, some of which have managed to figure out virtual reading group discussions. We are glad to see that lots of libraries have been able to gradually restore some services over the last few weeks, and great work has been done by librarians and prison staff to set up systems for book ordering and collection.
“I opened the Library door the other day as the lads were going back to the wing and one of them had been waiting for the Deathly Hallows…his face when I said I had got it and he could keep it was a treat and more excited than I thought anyone could be, it was like I had given him a car! It just shows how important books are to the men right now , what you do is very much appreciated.”
30 June 2020