When you work with offenders, I believe the most powerful way to engage and motivate is to talk about family. That is not to say that family interventions work is easy, or that it represents a magic bullet for rehabilitation. But having worked intensively on establishing Invisible Walls Wales at HMP & YOI Parc, Bridgend, the very tangible results of the project speak for themselves.
I am delighted to be announcing our record breaking total of £55million, which is £6million higher than last year! This has only happened due to the dedication and energy of all of those who fundraise and support us every year to help transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people right across the UK.
Everyone knows that accessories can transform an outfit, so why not apply the same logic when it comes to Halloween? It plays well for those who aren't into going all out but want to join in a bit on the dressing up front, but it doesn't even mean you can't go in character either. Some celebrities' accessories are their calling card, you just have to put a bit of thought into your outfit.
Every year we launch a campaign designed to galvanise fundraisers all across the UK, and last year you did us proud by helping raise a staggering £49.1million. Looking forward, I'm proud to launch our 2015 Appeal supported by a range of familiar faces; though look twice as they might not be who you expect.
This is not a party political issue. I'm not saying that we shouldn't sort out those deep structural issues holding us all back. In my view, this is absolutely not a substitute for Government aid and I am incredibly proud that the Lib Dems are making it law for Government to invest 0.7% of GDP in overseas Aid. But 21st Century philanthropy is no longer for the astronomically rich.
Every year I have to find something new to take part in, that challenges and pushes me outside of my comfort zone and has the effect of terrifying me witless. This year was no different. Thanks to persuasive talents of one Shirley Pinder from BT, I agreed to abseil down the GPO Tower along with Martin Bayfield, Helen Skelton and a few others and a platoon of Royal Marines headed up by the Big Boss, Ed Davis. I know... I'm not sure how that happened either. (Note to self; block all future calls from Abseiling Shirley, as she is affectionately known in our house)...