BIG Lottery

We undertake prison in-reach to the three main prisons which accommodate women from the Birmingham area. These are HMP Foston Hall, HMP Drake Hall and HMP Eastwood Park. We also visit Peterborough when required. This work is funded by a grant from the BIG Lottery and carried out by the prison and outreach team led by Gina Stokes.

We visit the prisons weekly on average, meaning that each prison is visited every three weeks. During the visits we support women leading up to their release, helping to prepare them for life in the community. This will involve assisting them with a wide range of different tasks, applying for accommodation, making contact with solicitors, social workers and family members as requested. We also refer them to other organisations that can offer additional support, such as drug and alcohol services. Our goal is to ensure that as the women approach release they have a network of support ready for them in the community and that they are re-connected with family members. Due to the small number of women's prisons, women prisoners are usually in custody a long way from where they live, which can lead to severe social isolation. This is turn leaves women vulnerable to exploitation and further offending.

On release we will work with the woman to re-engage with services, sign on with benefits and resettle into the community. Case workers will visit the woman where she is living, helping her to secure more permanent accommodation if her current accommodation is temporary (which it usually is). This may also involve helping her to obtain furniture and clothing. Once the woman has attained a level of stability she can then engage with all the courses and activities available at the centre. These are designed to improve self-esteem and move the women towards independence and employment.


Re-Unite Birmingham

The Re-Unite Programme, which is part of this work, is a partnership with Midland Heart housing association and a replication of the service set up by Commonweal housing. The principles of the programme are simple - Midland Heart provide a property to the women who we are supporting that is suitable for her and her children, provided that there are no reasons that she cannot have her children back with her within a reasonable timeframe. We work with her to ensure that transition is smooth, liaising with whoever had been caring for the children whilst she was in custody. In situations where the children will take longer to be returned, Midland Heart will accommodate her in a one bedroom property with the proviso that they will rehouse her as soon as she is ready to have her children back. This arrangement solves the very common scenario that arises for women whose children are not with them, in which mothers are only offered a one bedroom property and then due, because they are in an unsuitable property, they cannot have their children. This programme is a win-win for all involved - the housing provider has the benefit of a tenant who is well supported and hence issues of non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour are avoided, the woman is housed in a suitable property and Anawim is able to offer accommodation with a fast track arrangement avoiding the lengthy bidding process. In situations where the children are in the care of the Local Authority as opposed to with family members, the reuniting process is often longer, so we will work with the woman supporting her at the case conferences and court hearings. We can offer supervised contact in our crèche and our family support worker will co-work with the prison in-reach worker providing parenting courses and one to one support. This programme has already yielded some very positive results and saved many thousands of pounds in public money.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Anawim Team Day

228 Mary Street, Balsall Heath
Birmingham B12 9RJ
Tel: 0121 440 5296