Thoughts, stories and events to share

The Longford Trust

Sophie O'Sullivan, about 5 years ago

The Longford Trust have influenced my life a great deal. Both financially and emotionally. They provided financial help… and good direction and a mentor with relevant industry knowledge to help me on my career path.

- Justin Gahan, Longford Scholar

The Longford Trust believes in second chances. This charitable trust provides vital financial and mentoring support to ex-prisoners through the Longford Scholarship scheme. They want to ensure that people who have been to prison do not feel excluded from the chance to study at university and build successful careers.

The programme has supported over 200 young serving and ex-prisoners since 2004, most of them in their 20s, when the first scholarship was awarded. Grants of up to £5,000 per annum can be used for accommodation deposits, equipment like laptops or any materials that will benefit students on their higher education courses. With this support, Longford Scholars are able to move forward, rebuild their lives and enjoy new, exciting futures.

The Longford Trust were brilliant at my time at university. The support was incredible. They helped me with funding for materials and they are also just a very nurturing team. Anytime that I had a problem and I contacted them, they were always there to help.

-Lee Cutter, Longford Scholar (pictured below with his art work in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition)

We spoke to Peter Stanford, director, about the goals of the Trust and its work with people with convictions. He tells us that the Longford Trust aims to "help with social capital" by generating a valuable network for scholars that they can use to secure employment. This is achieved by their voluntary team of mentors, who are trained to support each scholar throughout the duration of their course. Peter explains how this crucial support is “the building block for careers" and “levels the playing field for their candidates." Relationships between mentors and mentees ensures the “emotional and psychological well-being of the Scholars," a key concern of the Longford Trust's ongoing work.

The mentoring scheme has led to Scholars earning enlightening internships. For example, one scholar, CJ Burge, has interned with the Cabinet Office. CJ studied law under the guidance of the Longford Trust and she now works with St Giles Trust (previously featured on our blog), helping to educate young people about the dangers of gangs and consequences of getting involved. Many Longford Scholars report back that mentor support made the biggest impact on them during their studies.

The Longford Trust has not just given me financial support, but it's given me a relationship, it's given me someone who believes in me and has allowed me to build the self-confidence that was stripped away from me from being in custody. I am really grateful to them for that.

-CJ Burge, Longford Scholar (pictured above with Longford trustee Jon Snow)

As a result of all of this vital personal and financial aid, Longford Scholars have a very high graduation rate. Despite the great obstacles they face, around 85% graduate and go onto employment.

Relationships with employers are essential to the Longford Trust's goals of acting as a building block, fostering vibrant careers for its scholars.

If you would like to support the Longford Trust and its scholars by offering employment opportunities, please contact them through our directory.