Supporting Haven Distribution’s Books to Prisoners work
On 25th January the volunteers who tirelessly run Haven Distribution’s Books to Prisoners programme came to Housmans to give a talk and celebrate Haven’s 20th anniversary. They were joined by Erwin James, who during his own 20 years in prison became a writer, penning a popular Guardian column from his cell which gave the outside world an insight into his life inside. It was an inspiring and moving evening. The work that Haven do couldn’t be more empowering, and sadly in a time when UK prisons are seemingly deliberately underfunded, its work that is desperately needed.
Haven provides books in two key ways: from a catalogue of political books, all donated, with Pluto Press and Verso Books acting as key sponsors, and also on demand, so a prisoner can ask for a particular book that they might need – often a text book or other educational title. The more funds Haven has, the more books can be distributed. Haven is entirely volunteer run, so every penny goes directly to providing books.
With that in mind Housmans will be running a long-term campaign to help support Haven’s work, and get more books into prisoners hands. This will take the form of an annual appeal, which we’ll be kicking off now! We’ll be making our own financial donation and would encourage you to do the same by clicking here: http://www.havendistribution.org.uk/donating. There will also be a collection box at the till throughout the year.
If you can afford to, please do support this important cause.
For further reading, there’s a great potted history of twenty years of Haven on the Verso blog, written by Luke from Haven, here: http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2465-a-short-history-of-haven-distribution-sending-books-to-prisoners-for-20-years