History of HALOW (Birmingham)

HALOW Birmingham

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) grew to become a major provider of Visitors’ Centre services in partnership with seven prisons in the West & East 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 as a result of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Commercial Procurement processes.

HALOW (Birmingham) continuously ran Visitor and Family Services at HMP Birmingham for 25+ years, transferring staff to PACT in October 2022 following Commercial Procurement processes.

We were selected to work in partnership with G4S to operate Visitor and Family Services at two new-build prisons, operating these successfully at HMP Oakwood (2012-2023) and HMP Five Wells (2022-2023) until a policy decision to bring these services ‘in-house’ meant our staff were transferred to G4S under TUPE Regulations.

In 2023 our ‘Jolly Tots’ programme for prisoners with children 0-2 years won won the National Campaign for Learning Award (‘Early Years’ Category), with presentations made at the House of Lords.  HALOW (Birmingham) has long collaborated with local groups to enrich services available with the aim of achieving better outcomes for people in the criminal justice system, their families and significant others.  For example, the ‘Pay as You Feel’ (PAYF) community cafe at HMP Birmingham Visitors’ Centre run by the Real Junk Food Project Central CIC.

Although HALOW (Birmingham) ceased operating prison-based services from 2023, the charity is looking forward to developing new partnership initiatives in 2024 that offer community-based support where most needed, aligned in our charitable aims:

“a) To relieve poverty, sickness and distress among prisoners, ex-offenders, their families and significant others in need of such relief, and

b) To advance education by research into domestic issues relating to prisoners, ex-offenders, their families and significant others, and disseminate the useful results of such research.”


Our first IMPACT Report 2019 was developed in collaboration with iSE C.I.C. and funded through the Lloyds Bank Foundation, ENABLE Grants Programme.

To view or download a copy, please follow this link: HALOW (birmingham) Impact Report FINAL v1


HALOW (Birmingham) c/o St Martin’s Youth Centre, Gooch Street, Highgate Birmingham, B5 7HE Telephone: 0121 707 1008 Email: admin@halowbirmingham.org.uk Website: www.halowbirmingham.org.uk

HALOW Case Studies & News

Families & friends of HMP Birmingham survey

Please can domestic visitors of HMP Birmingham follow the link below and complete this survey. The survey is only short, consisting of 7 questions. Thanking you in advance. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/52TNQXK  

A family from the travelling community has been attending Homework Club at HMP Oakwood FPC each Tuesday evening for 12 months; within the family are two boys aged 5 and 3. The elder boy would enter the centre initially quite boisterous, running in and out of the play area, around the tables where people eat, pushing his little brother around on a

A young mother was observed with two small children. The eldest (2 years old) was seen to be running around, letting himself out of the doors, taking toys from other children and not responding to his mothers requests. The Children’s Worker (CW) talked with the mother and found out the child had autism – she explained he struggled wit

Macmillian Cake and Coffee afternoons

The Staff and visitors at HMP Oakwood Family Pathway Centre rasied a total of £253 during our Macmillan cake and coffee afternoons, “thank you for your support to a good cause”. for more information visit Macmillan’s website: www.macmillan.org.uk

HMP Oakwood's Community Engagement

Over the last few weeks, the children have been creating their own tree decorations for the HMP Oakwood Family Pathway Christmas Tree. Once dressed, the FPC tree took part in a Christmas Tree Festival at a local church near to Stafford. Over 40 trees were exhibited in the church over the weekend of the 2nd to the 4th December 2016. The FPC tree was

Xmas Arts and Crafts

Over the past few weeks the children have been making and personalising their own stockings to display next to the Oakwood fire place in the Family Pathway Centre, create a warm relaxing display.

HALOW BIRMINGHAM is grateful for support from

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