About Us


Benjamin Zephaniah


Lee Humphries - Founder & Chair
Kim Shearer - Secretary
Emma Long - Trustee
Luke Billingham - Trustee

Our 2017 annual Report is available here in pdf format.

Haven Distribution, a registered charity since December 2001, has been assisting prisoners since 1996 by purchasing educational books for those who wish to use their time in custody effectively, through the pursuit of lifelong learning. We seek to encourage self-worth and raise self-esteem in inmates in the UK prison population, providing a structured service, which will assist in the resettlement of the offender back into his or her community.

Haven is run by its pro-active voluntary Board of Trustees who maintain the distribution of books to prisoners. We have minimal running costs, the majority of our expenditures being allocated to the purchase of books and postage for our client group. For the first five years, Haven existed on donations and the proceeds of bar work undertaken by volunteers at various events organised by The Workers' Beer Company. However, due to the increasing demand for expensive educational books, Haven applied for, and received, charitable status in 2001, and subsequently secured funding from several private trusts and foundations.

The diversity of prisoners' educational courses ranges from NVQs in hairdressing and other beauty therapies, catering and plastering, to business courses for those who wish to set up their own small business on release. Haven also distributes a huge volume of multi-lingual dictionaries for both UK and foreign nationals imprisoned in the UK. Since dyslexia is a recognised disability, particularly amongst the prison population, Haven also distributes large-print dictionaries, along with learning and grammar books to those inmates who have difficulty with basic literacy and numeracy.

Haven plays a vital role in providing books that prison libraries may not stock or have in very short supply, as prison libraries have restrictive budgets for the provision of educational books. In doing so, we can ensure that prisoners have access to essential course literature, not just for a 2-3 week loan, but for the duration of their respective courses. As we limit our support to each inmate to £20, we further encourage our applicants to leave the book(s) behind at the end of their course in order that future student-prisoners can benefit from their use. The books are not purchased speculatively, but only in the context of each prisoner's requirements, providing effective use of our funding support. Haven encourages feedback from our applicants regarding the progression of their courses and their achievements, as well as asking them to leave the books in the prison libraries for future inmates.

In late 2002, with major support from the Tudor Trust, Haven advertised our services nationally in the 158 prisons and young offender institutions. The subsequent demand has been staggering. Clearly, HM Prison Service simply cannot address the demand for educational material, despite their statutory obligation to provide educational books, dictionaries, and essential reading media to serving inmates. This is, in part, due to the growth of the prison estate.

Haven Distribution is pleased that, with continued support, we can continue to be successful in providing essential educational books for inmates who choose to use their time in custody to their advantage, and we hope that we can continue this success by assisting inmate's self-education and helping towards their resettlement in the future.

We would like to thank our volunteers and everyone who has provided us with financial support over the past 18 years:

  • AK Distribution
  • Aldo Trust
  • Ambrose & Ann Appelbe
  • Anton Jurgens Charitable Trust
  • Ashendene Trust
  • Bernard Sunley Foundation
  • CHK Charities
  • Dulverton Trust
  • Ernest Cook Trust
  • Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Hachette UK
  • Hilden Charitable Fund
  • Jane Hodge Foundation
  • J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust
  • JJ Charitable Trust
  • Lloyds TSB Foundation
  • Lloyds TSB Foundation Scotland
  • Lord Faringdon Charitable Trust
  • N Smith Charitable Settlement
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation
  • Pilgrim Trust
  • Rayne Foundation
  • Roger Vere Foundation
  • Royal London Aid Society
  • Tudor Trust
  • Whitaker Trust
  • William A Cadbury Charitable Trust
  • Yorkshire Building Society
Image kindly provided by Clifford Harper

"I am just writing to thank Haven Distribution for providing me with an essential textbook. I have been rewarded with a great deal of praise, confidence and self-esteem as well as knowledge and certification that are essential to my future aspirations."
GP - HMP Channings Wood

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