During the project period, we made several links with new organisations and officials in the designated areas. Some of the important links made were:
Gavin Williamson MP (South Staffordshire)
During the project period, we made contact with Gavin Williams informing him of the training available to professionals in his constituency. Several referrals for the course were made through this link, and we had the chance for Mr Williamson to attend the Family Pathway Centre to discuss this in more depth.
Left to right: Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, Bridget Cameron (Co-Chair HALOW), Daniel Daly HALOW Family Pathway Centre Manager
South Staffs Work Clubs
The work club comes into the centre bi-weekly basis and provides prisoners family and friend’s advice and support with housing benefits, IT training, debt, careers, budgeting, Volunteering, education and training course. This will have a significant impact of the effects of imprisonment and help reduce stress and anxiety that the family undergo.
Walsall Council: Mellow Dads
During the project, we had several members of Walsall Council attend Enabling Families training and from this made links to the prison direct which has gave the opportunity to run a Mellow Dads course for prisoners to help improve their relationship with their children.
The Enabling Families project has enabled HALOW, with the support of partners, to develop a range of training courses that have proved to be of value to a wide range of agencies, prisoners and university students studying criminal justice. We are currently exploring opportunities to build on the 12-month pilot, for example, by making resources available online; by securing funding to run the programme again both locally and in other areas, and, finally, by exploring new initiatives that draws insight from the real experiences of prisoners’ and their families.
“Enjoyed the day, interaction is good, enjoyed the video clips and discussion afterwards, very informative”
“A good mixed variety of information – liked the discussions and interactive parts”
“I found it relaxing & the trainers were very approachable” “All in all one of the best training course I have attended” “Speaking to an offender was good”
The course aims to give participants the chance to:
- Explore the impact of imprisonment on prisoners’ families Explore the current prison system Discuss the support needs of prisoners’ families
- Evaluate the use and importance of knowledge about the needs and wishes of prisoners’ families
- Discuss how to improve the co-ordination of services to provide more effective support for those affected by the imprisonment of a family member
- Reflect on how to improve their own practice in supporting prisoners’ families
- See first-hand the journey of prisoners’ families entering a prison establishment
- See first-hand the journey through the eyes of a child entering a prison establishment
The main reason for the project Enabling Families to begin was an initial working relationship with a prisoner, his family, the older child’s Head Teacher, a member of the prison’s Offender Management Unit and the HALOW Family Pathway centre Deputy Manager.
An initial telephone conversation highlighted the need for better communication between prison staff and external organisations that have contact with prisoner’s families, such as Education, Healthcare and Employment etc.
The prisoner (male aged 31 years) has a son (aged 8 years) who was experiencing several issues coping with the loss of his father into a custodial environment. The son was showing separation anxiety, aggression and night terrors. The mother (Aged 36 years) was struggling to know where to turn and what to say to her son. After conversations between the Head Teacher and the mother, it was decided that they needed to link into the prison.
After a telephone conversation, it was agreed and arranged that regular meetings with the complete family, internal, and external support agencies who will work with the family and prisoner to maintain family ties and improve the child’s wellbeing. The meetings took place in a private room and it was an open forum to discuss both positive and negative issues faced that month. One of the important issues that came to light was the child believed that unless he behaved his father could not come home. This stemmed from a comment father had made to promote his child to improve his behaviour.