Our Proud History
HALOW (Birmingham) started life in the mid 1980’s in a cramped ‘two-up, two-down’ terraced house in Winson Green, Birmingham where Marie Curtis had a dedicated group of volunteers, helped other prisoners’ wives and family members through the stresses and strains of serving ‘the second sentence’. Over five years the self-help community group developed to become a registered charity in October 1990. At the 1990 Annual General Meeting it was reported that 4,000 requests for help had been dealt with during the year; a considerable achievement for one full-time member of staff and a dedicated team of volunteers offering a 24 hour helpline.
HALOW (Birmingham) has grown to become a major provider of Visitors’ Centre services, and has, in partnership with six prisons in the West Midlands area over the past 30 years. From dealing with 4,000 requests for help in 1990, the charity’s staff and volunteers assisted some 160,000 visitors’ a year at 6 prison visitors’ centres across the West Midlands by 2017.
In October 2017 visitors’ services at HMYOI Brinsford, HMP Featherstone, HMP Stafford and HMYOI Swinfen Hall was transferred to Barnardo’s. HALOW (Birmingham) continues to run services at HMP Birmingham and HMP Oakwood, together with a range of community-based projects with the aim of achieving better outcomes for people in the criminal justice system, their families and significant others.
The past 10 years has also seen an increasing awareness amongst policy-makers the positive effect maintaining and strengthening family ties can have on reducing re-offending. Recent work HALOW (Birmingham) staff have been developing includes the development of work associated around children and families.
Our charitable aims are:
A. to relieve poverty, sickness and distress among prison inmates, ex-offenders and the partners and dependants of prison inmates and ex-offenders in need of such relief.
B. to advance public education by research into domestic issues relating to prison inmates, ex-offenders and their families and to disseminate the useful results of such research
Who we are:
• We are a charity organisation
• We believe that every prisoner and his or her family should get the support they would like or need.
• We provide an information, guidance and sign posting service
• We listen to the needs of prisoners’ families
• We keep visitors up to date with all prison rules and regulations
• We hold regular surveys, forums and feedback to help shape and improve the charity.
• We run family events such as Family Days, Children’s Days, Partners Days, Father Baby Bonding Sessions (FABBS), family interventions