Angel Tree supports prisoners in their family relationships by providing a way for them to give Christmas presents to their children. Local Prison Fellowship volunteers raise funds and work with churches and prison chaplains to buy and deliver the presents. As long as they are allowed access to their children, prisoners are given the opportunity to apply for a gift to be sent to them. Each gift is sent as though it is from the parent in prison and is accompanied by a personal message written by the parent for their child.
Our volunteers then coordinate the fundraising, purchasing of gifts, wrapping and delivery. If the parent wishes, a Christian story book is also sent.
We have also launched an Angel Tree Mother’s Day programme, where our volunteers enable Young Offenders to send their Mum a card and gift on Mother’s Day. Last year we sent 643 gifts to mothers of young offenders, and we would love to offer this to more young people in the future.
We also run Angel Tree through the year at prison ‘Family Days’. This allows parents to give a gift to their child as part of a day spent with them, and is always really appreciated.
Why do we do it?
There are around 200,000 children in England and Wales with a parent in prison. 7% (around 1 in 15) children will experience their father’s imprisonment before they leave school.
Angel Tree is a very simple and incredibly rewarding way to help prisoners keep contact with their families, which has been shown to reduce re-offending.
Family contact during imprisonment can drastically reduce re-offending rates. Those prisoners being visited by a partner or family member have a 52% re-offending rate as compared to 70% for those who do not.
How can I get involved?
You can volunteer to be part of our Angel Tree team. We currently need 20 Angel Tree Coordinators across England and Wales. This involves organising Angel Tree for a particular prison and talking to the chaplain, other volunteers and local churches. Find out more about this role.
We also need volunteers to help raise money, buy and wrap presents at Christmas. Contact the office to find out more.
Angel Tree is currently running in over 80 prisons across England and Wales. Find out if your local prison runs Angel Tree.
You can also donate to the Angel Tree programme.
What people are saying about Angel Tree
“Angel Tree has reinforced my faith in humanity, which had been lost long ago.” A Prisoner
“I am sending you this card to say a big thank you for sending my four children a Christmas present on my behalf. They all loved their presents and it made their Christmas. Thank you…” Wife of a prisoner
“Today is Mothering Sunday and this morning I opened a lovely card from my 16 year old son who is unfortunately serving 6 months in prison. Enclosed in the card was a gift voucher. After some investigative work I discovered that the prison fellowship had funded and enabled this card and gift to be sent to me and I would like to say how grateful and pleased I am. This is a very difficult time for us and receiving this card was just so lovely. Thank you so much.” Cara, a mother
“I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am very close to my little girl and it has been very hard on us being parted and Angel Tree has made it a bit easier. My little girls heart was broken that day and that lovely gift put it back together. Thank you so very much.” Female Prisoner
“There are so many children with either a mum or dad in prison who at this time of the year are unable to enjoy themselves. It’s people like yourselves who put smiles on their little faces. Thank you to all the volunteers who run such a remarkable service.” Anon
“She was at home when the parcel arrived and so was very excited. She saw the word ‘prison’ and her face just lit up. She ran around hugging the parcel shouting ‘It’s from my Daddy!’ The present itself was just what she wanted. However the look on her face and sheer joy I will never forget. I had never heard of ‘Angel Tree,’ but you are truly wonderful people.” A Mother
“75 lads sent cards to their Mums. This represents three quarters of the prison population. The messages ranged from ‘Hi mum’ to in-depth apologies and thanks. Some messages were to Nanas, some to foster Mums all expressing love or asking for forgiveness. In conversation, a lad last said his Mum had written to him asking if she could visit, he had not heard from her in 2 years. He said ‘I think it’s because of that card!’ Overall, the lads found it hard to believe strangers could care that much for them to arrange this.” Chaplaincy, HM YOI Werrington
“Seeing our members get involved in Angel Tree has been very inspiring; it’s such a wonderful project that helps parents in prison maintain the relationship with their children. The trouble that the members take to ensure that they get just the right gift for the child is very heartening, and the appreciative comments from both the parents in prison, and their children, make it all worthwhile.” Roseleen Fox, Mothers’ Union Programmes Manager
 Ministry of Justice (2008), Factors linked to reoffending, London: Ministry of Justice