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Letters for prisoners

September 2011

Letters for prisoners

A charity set up more than 130 years ago is already starting to think about Christmas 2012.
    Christmas Letters to Prisoners (CLP) sends out more than 20,000 letters each year to 25 per cent of prisons in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Channel Islands. Some are also sent abroad for English-speaking prisoners.
    Each of these letters are handwritten by volunteer copyists, then checked, enveloped, packaged and dispatched by a small team of volunteers and staff — which is why CLP has to think about Christmas so early.
    Each November, CLP volunteers package the letters and send them to prison chaplains to distribute. Even with the team’s dedication, 75 per cent of prisoners in the UK and Ireland still do not receive a Christmas letter. This is why CLP is calling for more volunteers to write original letters.
    Tony Sheldrake, chairman of CLP, said, ‘We all like the feeling that somebody has bothered to spend time writing to us. Handwritten letters show prisoners that somebody has cared enough to write by hand at Christmas, when they are missing their friends and family.
    ‘The letters encourage prisoners to seek the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. These letters help to cut the chances of prisoners reoffending on their release’.
    One prisoner from a jail in Lusaka wrote to CLP, ‘Receiving your card made me feel the love of Christ. Please help me to grow spiritually by sending a Bible’.
    For more information, please email [email protected] or visit http://homepages.tesco.net/christmasletters

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