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On the 19 April, with the kind permission of the Speaker of the House of Commons, we brought a year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary to a close with an evening reception at the Speaker’s House in the House of Commons.

The celebrations throughout the year have been a great opportunity for us to reflect on where we came from, the people we have helped and our current and future plans. This reception in particular was an opportunity to bring together people we work with outside of Nacro with our staff, trustees and service users.

Originally formed as a criminal justice advocacy organisation, Nacro soon expanded to deliver direct help to people at difficult times in their lives, as well as campaigning for improved policy. We have adapted to the changing needs of people who come to us for help through the introduction of education centres, health support, housing and criminal justice services as well as our policy and influencing work.

Addressing those in attendance at the reception, Mr Speaker, John Bercow said:

“Nacro should be proud of the lives they have transformed through their pioneering work. Through this work, they are saving, rescuing and transforming the lives of victims, those who have committed crimes, and people who fall into both groups. It is easy to give sound bites about criminal justice but it is difficult to put energy in to making it work like Nacro does. They give people a second or third chance.”

It was a wonderful evening and we were touched by the range of people who joined us to celebrate this milestone. We are very grateful to all who made our achievements over the last 50 years possible. We are particularly grateful to – and proud of – the two service users who spoke at the event about the difficulties they had faced in their pasts but how, with the right help and support, they had transformed their lives and were looking forward to the future.

We know that we can’t achieve our goals for the next 50 years on our own. We hope that through our continued collaborative efforts we will continue to support those who need to turn their lives around, ensuring that they have the basic building blocks they need to succeed: secure homes, a good education, good health, strong relationships and opportunities to participate in society.