Ormiston Families

Breaking Barriers

Ormiston Families supports children, young people and their families to manage the challenges they face and improve their life chances. We know that contemporary families are increasingly complex, and often complicated - but they lie at the heart of our understanding of the world and our relationships with the people around us.

For some, cyclical family problems and the breakdown of relationships can lead to hard challenges and criminal behaviour.

Our Breaking Barriers service helps the children of prisoners who are left behind after a sentence has been handed down. These children are forgotten victims, barely recognised in the criminal justice system, who aren’t supported by statutory services but left to cope as best they can, and many fail to cope.

It is estimated that at any given time up to 200,000 children in the UK are affected by having a parent or close family member in prison.

Breaking Barriers is a non-judgemental, early intervention service providing support for children and young people affected by the imprisonment of a close family member.

How it works

We work in schools, family homes, or wherever a young person feels safe, to help them come to terms with the emotional trauma.

By providing a safe space for them to talk, play and express themselves, we enable children and young people to explore their feelings and break down some of the barriers which may prevent them from maintaining positive ties with their imprisoned family member or relative.

As well as helping children and young people cope with separation from a loved one, there is evidence that prisoners who maintain ties with their children are less likely to re-offend, and the children themselves are less likely to become involved in offending behaviour.

Impact to date

Breaking Barriers provides intensive help to 100 children and their families every year.

“My Dad never thought that when he did what he did, and went to prison, he was breaking my Mum's heart and robbing me of my childhood” (Becky, prisoner’s daughter, 14).

Our Values

The people of Ormiston Families are a group of special individuals united by very strong values. You’ll see us demonstrating these values every day, right across the East of England and in each of our services.

We are Caring

We go the extra mile by listening and learning from children, young people and families. We celebrate achievement.

We are Brave

We are courageous in tackling difficult issues and unflinching in our support for the most challenged.

We are Effective

We use demonstrable approaches delivered by the right people. We will not turn our back on those seeking support.


Our Target: £15,000

£15,000 will enable us to help at least 8 children suffering due to the imprisonment of a parent.