Visitors Centre at HMP The Mount and some recent HACRO staffing challenges!

May 22, 2017

The Visitors Centre Tea Bar

The work that HACRO is involved in at The Visitors’ Centre at the Mount seems to have become busier over Winter 2016 and Spring 2017. Many visitors come quite a distance to visit the prisoners and arrive exhausted from their journey and looking forward to a good cup of tea or coffee.

Imagine their disappointment if they find a notice saying that the Tea Bar is shut due to a shortage of volunteers! Unfortunately this has sometimes been the situation over the last few months.

Both the prison authorities and HACRO work really hard at attracting and recruiting new volunteers and recently they have been doing their best to recruit a new Tea Bar Organiser as well as  more volunteers- it can be tough sometimes finding Volunteers!

Due to a number of volunteers leaving at the same time early in 2017, the main problem was the change made in the recruitment and vetting procedures both in prison work and for volunteers.

The new Disclosure and Barring Service [DBS] has not settled down yet so vetting processes are taking a great deal of time. This was particularly important because we were in the process of trying to recruit a new Tea Bar Organiser as well as new volunteers.

Changes in the Tea Bar

Our last Tea Bar Organiser, Annette left us recently and and we would like to thank her for the hard work she put into the Tea Bar. It has become more popular and visitors tell us how welcoming the atmosphere is in the Visitors Centre. Whilst we were trying to recruit a new organiser, Annette’s daughter agreed to take over on a temporary basis until we appointed someone else.

This was really noble of her as she was already pregnant with her second child! We thank her for keeping things going for us and wish her and her family all the best for the future.

The new Tea Bar Organiser is Heather Moore who has just been able to take over properly as the vetting procedures have gone through at last. We wish Heather all the best in her new post.

We send best wishes to all our newly recruited volunteers and welcome them to the Tea Bar. Lastly and definitely not least we want to thank all the volunteers who have been filling in for us in the Tea Bar over this difficult time. We could not have managed without them.

Children in the Visitors Centre

It is so good to see so many visitors bringing children of all ages and luckily we have had some generous donations of toys to keep them amused and occupied.

The toys get quite regular and testing handling at times so we are always grateful for donations of clean toys that are in a reasonable condition. The children are amazingly well behaved considering how long they have to wait sometimes and we like to make the Visitor’s Centre as welcoming as possible for them.

please do let us know! 

If Visitors or anyone else who may be reading this blog have any ideas that would make the Tea Bar even more welcoming: Send Mail