Fundraising: Me and my charity

Actress Zoe Wanamaker, well-known for her role as Susan Harper in sitcom My Family, is currently starring in the new Doctor Who series on the BBC. She is also a patron of the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund (PoC).

Why did you choose PoC?

I had supported PoC for many years, but became more actively involved after I was approached by the charity to attend a reception to mark its 40th anniversary in 2002.

I read some poetry written by former prisoners the charity had helped, and was then delighted to accept the invitation to become a patron. I really admire PoC because its grants give practical help at times of great distress, help families to be reunited and assist prisoners of conscience in exile to resettle.

What do you do to support them? I have supported fundraising appeals, attended and spoken at events and signed letters on the charity's behalf.

I feature in the charity's current face-to-face fundraising campaign, where donors are encouraged to sign up to direct debits.

So far we have recruited almost 300 new supporters, even though the campaign only started in September. This will contribute more than £23,000 towards our work each year.

I also spoke at the launch of our 500 Club in December. I read a poem written by a former political prisoner and beneficiary of PoC from Nigeria to encourage others to join the 500 Club for £35 a month.

This year, we are aiming to recruit 100 members to the club - so far we have reached 40, which already equates to an annual commitment of £20,000.

More club members are needed, so for more information do contact PoC.

How much time do you give? If I am free, I give up as much time as the charity asks of me.

What other charities do you support? I am a patron of several other organisations, but many are in name only, as time does not permit me to become involved in them all. In 1993, I reported from Africa on Ethiopia's economic crisis for Comic Relief.

I have also been working as honorary vice-president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and I am honorary president of Shakespeare's Globe.

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