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A society to recall in Prisons Week

02 November 2006


From the Rt Revd Colin Docker
Sir, — I wonder how many of your readers today remember or know of the Church of England Temperance Society, or if they do, perhaps assume that it no longer exists?

Founded in the early 1870s, the charity worked among men and women addicted to alcohol, especially when the crimes connected with it took them to prison. Its workers represented them in court and visited them in prison, and, as a result, the charity appointed the first Police Court Missionaries, which, in due course, led to the beginning of the Probation Service.

The charity, now known as the National Council for Social Concern, does in fact still exist, and continues to work in the field of criminal justice and addictions, giving grants to church projects working in those fields, and to organisations giving support to prisoners and their families. Such ministry is particularly in the prayers of the Church during Prisons Week, and I commend the charity to your notice.

Over a period of 130 years, it has run hostels, founded housing associations, and initiated the work of other charities dealing with addiction and gambling, notably Alcohol Concern and GamCare. More recently, it did much pioneering work to promote the principles of restorative justice, as well as producing literature on alcohol and drugs for use in schools.

Currently, the charity is mainly a grant-making body run by a small board of trustees. Its chairman is appointed by its presidents, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.  Contact can be made through the secretary, Francis Mac Namara (phone 01730 300 974, and email fm@uv.net ). Our focus is to maintain our traditional work through small but significant grants enabling projects that might otherwise not see the light of day to get off the ground.
Chairman, The National Council for Social Concern
Bradley Road
Bovey Tracey
Devon TQ13 9EU

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