1948 BACO started as the ‘Bucks Discharged Prisoner’s Aid Society BDPAS funded by the Brewsters Sessions. Hand written minutes exist of an executive committee meeting dating 6thApril and members subscription was a guinea.
1971 a resolution was passed to change the name to Bucks Association for the Care of Offenders BACO and the change of name was registered with the Charity Commission on 23rdFebruary 1972, registered charity number: 263573 membership subscription was a pound.
1990’s the Chair met with prisoners in HMP Springhill to discuss what further assistance BACO could do to help support rehabilitation and from these discussions the Prisoner Support Service developed. Its primary purpose was to meet the prisoners on a one to one basis to receive requests for grants. It began in 2000 and was run by BACO volunteers. The executive committee realised that this valuable service could be rolled out to the other three Buckinghamshire prisons and a bid to the Lankelly Trust to employ a worker was successful. Sharon Hallon became BACO’s first and only employee, she recruited and trained four new volunteers and managed to expand the service for a brief time to HMP Woodhill & HMYOI Aylesbury. The funding was only for eighteen months. BACO then reverted to an organisation run solely by volunteers.
2004 An annual seminar was held at Buckingham University with well known speakers invited to discuss aspects of penal reform and the criminal justice system. BACO annual reports were introduced and AGM held in the Judges Lodgings, Aylesbury.
2007 saw a new highly dedicated volunteer taking a very active part in supporting the prisoners in HMP Grendon. Men in Grendon often initiate Fund raising activities to raise money for BACO.
2009 BACO was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. From the Chair ‘We are absolutely delighted to have received this prestigious honour for the work carried out by our very small group of dedicated volunteers, working with disadvantaged and often damaged client group’.
2010 the BACO Chair worked with a steering group of the New Leaf project to set up a mentoring service to support prisoners upon release in 2011 it was taken under the umbrella of the Thames Valley Partnership.
2011 a Seminar entitled ‘ Looking Back over 40 years – Prisons, Probation, The Courts’ was held at the University of Buckingham in celebration of BACO’s 40thanniversary.
2013 the Butler Trust certificate was awarded to BACO.
2017 A new Chair started and new volunteers joined the Executive Committee.
2019 BACO registered with Companies House as a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee with new Charity Number: 1186375
2020 Countess Howe became President of BACO succeeding Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher as Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.
On March 23rd the four prisons in Buckinghamshire were ‘locked down’ ; no family visits , no face to face prisoner interaction with the voluntary sector and prisoners spending 23 hours per day in their cells due to a corona virus pandemic. BACO was able to respond to requests for funding with the help of prison staff liaising with our volunteers using the secure email system (CJSM). HMP Probation continued to seek support for their clients and we saw an increase in applications from Buckinghamshire’s Youth Offending Service.