Ormiston at HMP Chelmsford

19 September 2018

Ormiston at Chelmsford Prison Visitor Centre support young children, people and families that are affected by imprisonment.

With their vision of ‘safe, healthy, happy children’ and their mission to ‘ identify and respond to the needs of children, young people and families’, Ormiston Families are vital in helping to maintain positive family relationships in difficult times.

Whether offering practical advice with paperwork, explaining prison procedures in advance of entering, making a cup of tea, having a friendly chat or entertaining the children, Ormiston volunteers provide a vital reassuring presence to visitors who are may be anxious or upset.

Ormiston volunteers’ kindness, compassion and good-humour ensure that families feel safe, supported and welcome.  The inviting play area is stocked with games and creative resources to distract and encourage the children, thereby preventing distress or fear.

Read below the stories of two of Ormiston’s volunteers:


“I always wanted to find a volunteering role once I was retired to give back a bit to society and use my spare time in a meaningful way.  Volunteering for Ormiston Families directly with the visitors and their children at HMP Chelmsford fulfils this wish in every way.  Although I am a small cog in the larger wheel I feel very valued by the staff and enjoy my role.  I have learned a lot about myself and continue to broaden my outlook on appreciating and accepting difference.”


“As a volunteer at Chelmsford Prison for many years, I have found Ormiston Families to be a very caring organisation and the work they do in helping visitors feel comfortable at visits is invaluable, as is the support they give to their volunteers.  The Play area, where I volunteer, is a welcoming, attractive and exciting environment for children to play in with toys, art materials and games to keep them occupied.  I feel humbled to be a part of it and when I see the children’s happy, smiling faces it makes it all worthwhile and is certainly beneficial to visitors, prisoners, staff and volunteers alike.”

If you have empathy, practicality and good cheer then Ormiston Families would love to welcome you to their volunteering family.  To find out how you can help families stay together click on the links below:

Children’s Play Area Assistants

Prison Visitor Centre Support

  • Thurrock are looking for volunteers to support their carers. If you would like more information click the link. https://t.co/wveyIueSoZ