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Tag: achievement

Look what we’ve done! 

You can see all we achieved in 2015/16 in our annual report.

Why we are here

The world is increasingly complex for anyone with a conviction. It can leave many people hopeless and despairing of ever re-building their lives. The law around disclosure is complicated and inconsistent. There are fewer and fewer sources of advice. Use – often unfair use – of the DBS is snowballing. It gets harder to maintain personal privacy in an online world. Unlock gives people practical help to deal with the everyday challenges of living with a criminal record. We also lobby for fairer systems – changes to make a big difference to many people.

What did we achieve in 2015/16?

In 2015/16 our staff of five:

  • campaigned for fairer job-recruitment practices
    • we produced helpful guidance
    • we queried the use of badly-worded forms
    • we challenged employers who used  the wrong level of criminal records check
  • gave information to hundreds of thousands of people via our Information Hub (nearly 900,000 unique visits).
  • engaged with thousands more people with our Disclosure CalculatorForum and e-magazine (theRecord).
  • helped more than 4000 individuals to get the information and advice they needed via our Helpline.
  • trained 162 professional practitioners – helping them to help others understand about criminal records.
  • gave face-to-face information to dozens of people in prison.
  • supported 14 volunteers (including serving prisoners) to become Helpline Assistants and gain valuable work experience.

All this has made a profound difference to individual lives.

“When I first got in touch with Unlock I was very low, but they gave me the emotional support and encouragement I needed. I had felt very isolated but knowing that someone else was there who knew what I was going through kept me going. I don’t know if I’d be here today if it wasn’t for Unlock.”

“… the information I’ve received off Unlock has been invaluable and has gone a long way to making me feel like my life isn’t ruined! The helpline is amazing; always well-staffed and every single person I spoke to was informative, helpful, reassuring and most importantly, non- judgemental.”

This year is even busier! With the need for our work ever-expanding, we estimate over 6000 people will use our Helpline and we’ll receive over one million visits to our online resources.

We would like to thank you anyone who has helped us in the last year, and if you would like to continue help us and remain independent we are grateful for any donations.

Reformed offenders’ charity wins Guardian Charity Award

Unlock has today won the Guardian Charity Award for its work tackling the economic and social exclusion of reformed offenders. The charity was selected as one of five winners from almost 1,000 entries, the largest number ever received in the history of the awards.

The charity focuses on the ongoing discrimination which can prevent reformed offenders from contributing positively to society throughout their entire lives. has become the leading source of information for law-abiding people with a criminal record, attracting 130,000 unique visitors a year.

The charity employs only five staff but works with volunteers to develop and deliver innovative projects, products and services, as well as campaigning for legal changes that would allow many reformed offenders to get off benefits and into employment.

The judges said Unlock was a “brilliant, very positive story” that was “tackling controversial issues”, “offering the long-term support needed” and that its use of online and media “shows huge potential”.

The charity will receive £6,000 prize money, one year free membership to NCVO, a tailored package from the FSI that includes mentoring, expert advice and training and a media package, including support from their community of journalists, from Media Trust.


Notes to editors

1. The awards highlight the work of UK based, small to medium sized charities that focus on social welfare and have been operating for two or more years with an annual income of between £5,000 and £1.5million.

2. The judging panel included: David Brindle, The Guardian (chair); Jane Asher, president of the National Autistic Society; Lynne Berry OBE, associate of Civil Exchange, Caroline Diehl, chief executive of Media Trust; Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO); Emma Harrison, chairman of trustees, the Foundation for Social Improvement; Baroness Howarth OBE, and Dame Suzi Leather, chair, Charity Commission.

3. The judges made the following comments: –
Baroness Howarth: “Brilliant, very positive story”
Jane Asher: “Remarkable and inspiring story of the chief executive turning their life around”
Pauline Broomhead: “Offering the long-term support needed after prison”
Caroline Diehl: “Use of online and media is great – shows huge potential”
Judges agreed that it is a positive story tackling controversial issues.

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