Sussex charity which helps those coming out of prison gains Queen’s Award

Sussex Pathways has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Sussex Pathway’s extensively trained volunteers work with residents of prisons, preparing them for release back into the community, and ensuring they have the best possible chance of not returning to their old ways.

The charity says the risk of reoffending is reduced by more than 80% with its help.

Sussex Pathways is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Sussex Pathways volunteers SUS-210306-105857001

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities.

It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Team members of Sussex Pathways will receive the award crystal and certificate from Mrs Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex later this summer. Furthermore, two members of the charity will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Margaret Carey, MBE JP, Chair of the Trustees, says: “I am absolutely thrilled that the amazing work of our volunteers and staff has been recognised in this way. They show absolute dedication to the task of helping people to change the way they live in the community, and this benefits every one of us.”

John (whose name has been changed for anonymity) was in and out of prison for years, unable to stop his substance abuse and the associated pattern of offending, and without anyone who cared about him enough to support him in the community.

His story is typical of the hundreds of people Sussex Pathways have worked with. One of their volunteer mentors worked with him intensively in the weeks before his due release date to design a release plan which would be realistic and achievable. He needed somewhere to live, some achievable targets, and the day to day support of someone who would be there for him.

He said; “I would like to thank Sussex Pathways for the support that they gave to me whilst I was in prison and when I was released. It really made a difference to my life and will continue to for my future - using everything you offered me from the one to one support, group therapy classes and the aftercare you continued to give me after my release. I appreciate your work and efforts and it really has made a difference to my life already so thank you all so much.”