Published on 25 June 2021

A chat with Lucy Adams, an Ormiston Families Cluster Manager

As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, we’ve been speaking to some of our wonderful staff about their achievements and experiences with us.

First up, we had a chat with Lucy Adams, one of our longest-serving service Cluster Managers whose career has spanned many prisons and helped countless prisoners and their families.

Ormiston Families celebrates 40 years of service this year – when did you become involved with the charity?

I joined Ormiston Families in 2003 (gosh, it’s been that long!), starting as a Senior Practitioner at Highpoint prison in Newmarket.

How has your role changed over the years?

So after working as a Senior Practitioner, I became Service Manager for a number of the prisons we work at. I still actually work with some of the staff I began with way back then! I’ve worked on some really interesting service projects over the years, working alongside some incredible people. But at the moment, I’m working with our Breaking Barriers and prison services, helping to support people in prison and their families throughout difficult periods.

On a day-to-day basis, how closely do you work with people in prison and their families?

I’ve worked very closely with people in many prisons over the years, and as a Cluster Manager I also oversee my staff working closely with people in prison and building some fantastic relationships with them. We see the same families visiting prisons over a period of years, which helps us to build really strong bonds with them.

Can you give any examples of why the support you provide is so vital?

Sometimes we work with families in which a loved one has gone to prison for the first time. Before they even come to a visiting centre, they fear the misconceptions about prisons from Hollywood films and the nasty stories we read in the papers. It can be quite worrying for them. As the first people they come into contact with in these prisons, we make sure to be supportive, empathetic and transparent about what goes on in prison every day. We help to put their fears to bed and these families really value our support during their first visits.

Can you give us a bit of an insight into the reasons you do what you do, and what makes it such a special and rewarding role?

We do what we do to help families navigate tough times. When you can see that your support is not only reassuring the loved ones of someone in prison, but improving the relationship between them and their family too, it is extremely rewarding.

What are some of your standout memories from your time working at Ormiston Families?

Looking back, most of my standout memories are to do with the amazing people I’ve worked with – I’ve been very lucky to have been a part of some great teams. I’ve also been lucky enough to show people such as Lady Tollemache and the High Sherriff around our prisons to show them the fantastic work we do every day.

What do you think Ormiston Families can achieve in the next ten years?

I’m hoping for some stability after the effects of the pandemic, first and foremost, for the good of the families we work with. I’d also love to see our projects develop over the long-term with sustained funding to allow us to help as many families as we can.