In 1993, the London prisons community links project was set up with the aim of coordinating the voluntary organisations working in London prisons. In 1998 that project developed into a charity ─ Clinks. 20 years on and we can look back at everything that’s happened in that time with a real sense of pride. We do this knowing that, regardless of the changes that have happened, voluntary organisations supporting people in the criminal justice system in England and Wales have an essential role to play and Clinks needs to support them, so they can do it as best they can.
In this milestone year we’ve reached more people via our digital communications than ever before. We’ve increased our membership and reached out through networks and forums for organisations working in specific ways and with specific groups of people in need. We’ve provided opportunities for specialist organisations to influence policy including through the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group. We merged with Women’s Breakout to protect specific support for organisations focussed on the needs of women in the criminal justice system. And through the work we’ve done to support implementation of the Farmer and Lammy reviews we’ve continued to ensure that people who are marginalised in and by the system can have their voices heard and their needs advocated for.
Our 20th birthday marks an opportunity to look back and acknowledge what has been achieved before moving purposefully forward with the launch of our strategy for 2019 – 2022 at our AGM, 7th November. We will be working with the voluntary sector and with partners to identify what we do well and where we might need to focus into the future. We do this firmly committed to always being relevant to a sector who is needed now as much as ever in its 200-year history.
In the next two weeks, leading up to our 20th birthday celebration at the AGM, we will take the opportunity to reflect on our achievements in the sector during the past 20 years, with contributions from our members, partners and supporters. We hope that you will join in and celebrate #Clinksat20 because we wouldn’t be here without you.