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Project information

Sycamore Tree - No one is beyond hope

Sycamore Tree is a victim awareness programme that teaches the principles of restorative justice. It is proven to reduce attitudes among participants that are known to be conducive to offending behaviour.

In 2016/17, Prison Fellowship plans to run 125 Sycamore Tree courses in 42 prisons.

April 2016 - March 2017

Charity information: Prison Fellowship England & Wales

Prison Fellowship England & Wales logo
  • Need


    Crime creates devastation: The statistics shock. 46% of adult offenders are reconvicted within a year of release. Sycamore Tree has a profound effect in helping offenders to understand the impact of their behaviour on victims, their families and communities, and helps them find ways to turn their lives around by taking responsibility for their actions.


    Sycamore Tree brings offenders and the community together using restorative justice tools, delivering opportunities for significant attitudinal change and motivating offenders to engage in the wider rehabilitation process.

    By challenging criminal behaviour, Sycamore Tree can be a decisive step towards offenders turning their lives around and becoming contributing members of society.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To offer hope for the future to 2,500 offenders in prisons across England and Wales.


    » The unique input of volunteers and the challenge to behaviour within Sycamore Tree, encourages offenders to take steps to turn their lives around.

    What success will look like

    Last year, over 1,970 offenders completed the course, strengthening character, developing social capabilities and making a public commitment to change.

    Aim 2

    To widen the availability of restorative justice to offenders in prisons.


    » Offenders explore attitudes to crime and the far-reaching ripple effects of their actions, understanding what it means to take responsibility.

    What success will look like

    Last year, there were 112 courses in prisons across England and Wales. This year, we want to build the level of programmes across the prison estate.

    Aim 3

    To help offenders to plan positive steps towards living a life without crime.


    » Taking responsibility for their crime, offenders explore ways to make amends and practical steps to translate intention into action.

    What success will look like

    Feedback confirms offenders find the course instils hope for the future, develops independent thinking and improves behaviour and self-determination.

  • Impact


    Sycamore Tree contributes to reducing reoffending. A study by Sheffield Hallam University of over 5,000 offenders who completed Sycamore Tree showed a statistically significant change in attitudes known to be linked to decisions to desist from crime.

    Feedback from Governors and other prison staff is overwhelmingly positive, frequently noting positive changes in behaviour among offenders who complete the course and a knock on positive impact to life on the wings.


    The success of the programme depends upon the availability of tutors, facilitators and funding. We have developed powerful new training and seek to encourage volunteers in their unique contributions which makes Sycamore Tree so special.

    The prison regime and prison transfers can sometimes result in offenders being unable to complete the course. Our professional reputation with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) means they work closely with us to protect attendance on the courses.


    We report to all donors and encourage them to attend a final session of a Sycamore Tree course to see for themselves the learners' extraordinary responses to the course.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £450,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £39,801 Accreditation Accreditation fees and quality assurance costs
      £73,259 Volunteers Recruitment, training and support
      £307,836 Courses Course supervision, materials and administration
      £29,104 Development Research, development and central costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Henry Smith Charity £30,000 Conditional
    West Midlands PCC £9,900 Guaranteed
    Other Smaller Donors £17,144 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Prison Fellowship runs programmes in 112 prisons across England and Wales. Last year, 37 prisons ran Sycamore Tree courses.


    The Sycamore Tree programme is offered across England and Wales to men, women, juveniles and young offenders. Last year, we engaged with over 2,000 offenders through Sycamore Tree. Learners are from a variety of offender types and backgrounds. What is certain is that the challenges they face upon returning to society are immense. Offenders with a hope for the future, and are motivation to plan their sentence in preparation for release stand a far better chance of not returning to prison.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Prison Fellowship is a unique volunteer organisation with many years experience. The personal support given by our volunteers offers a non- judgemental approach which has shown to have powerful, positive impacts. Prison Fellowship has a range of interventions and programmes supporting offenders’ families and those isolated serving their sentence with family support. We are a faith-based organisation, but not faith promoting and our services are open to all.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    The Offender

    We believe no one is beyond hope. Sycamore Tree encourages change - it has a profound effect on an offender’s journey towards a new life.

    Sycamore Tree Volunteers

    Our volunteers are trained to a high standard and fully supervised. They are also passionate and committed.

    You: The Donor

    Without your support, we cannot deliver the Sycamore Tree programme across England and Wales.


enables one learner to complete a Sycamore Tree programme

Sycamore Tree has given me a sense of self-worth and has helped me to accept responsibility and to truly say sorry.

Sycamore Tree Graduate