WIP's Delivery Model during Covid-19


Women in Prison (WIP) provides specialist support services by women for women enabling them to make informed choices in both custody and the community. The majority of women WIP supports face multiple disadvantages and have complex support needs, including experiences of discrimination, violence and abuse, poverty, homelessness, mental and physical ill health and substance misuse. Women will continue to need our support during the UK’s current Covid-19 crisis and for many their needs are increasing, as a result of social distancing, self-isolation and diminished access to services at this time.

WIP is committed to doing all we can to meet these needs and deliver high quality, trauma informed support to women using our services. We take our responsibility to protect the health of women who use our services and our staff very seriously and are following government advice on public protection and social distancing. We have made the following adaptations to service delivery:

Virtual Women’s Centres and Community Services

We have closed our premises and moved to a Virtual Women’s Centre delivery model, for the time being, for our community based services and women’s centres in London, Manchester and Woking. Our community staff are working remotely and continue to provide support to existing and new service users in innovative and responsive ways, including:

  • The delivery of practical and emotional one-to-one support via telephone, email, text and video calling (where safe and appropriate) by a dedicated keyworker;
  • The provision of wellbeing and resources packs via email and post, including advice on how to protect health and mental wellbeing, details of support networks, food bank provision, mindfulness and craft activities;
  • The provision of emergency food, toiletry packs, mobile phones (where service users would otherwise be uncontactable) and other emergency items;
  • Online delivery of existing workshops and group sessions where safe and appropriate;
  • The continuation of any counselling services by telephone.

All Community Services are continuing to take new referrals. To make a referral or for more details on what support a specific service can currently offer please use the contact details provided below.


In order to reduce the significant threat posed by Covid-19 to the prison population WIP staff are no longer visiting or delivering services from prisons. Staff are contacting current service users in prison via phone or prison staff, although this is becoming increasingly difficult as prison staff numbers reduce due to Covid-19. WIP is campaigning to ensure all women in prison have access to either cell or landing phones to make free phone calls to services such as WIP and to friends and family during this difficult time. We are providing resource packs to assist women in prison coping with social distancing and isolation. We will continue to distribute the Women in Prison magazine which goes to all women’s prisons.

Through the Gate

WIP is strongly advocating that a plan for early release from prison be developed as a matter of extreme urgency. The release of pregnant women, those on Mother and Baby Units and others who are part of plans for early release, is beginning. We are aware that this must be done alongside robust community support so that vulnerable people are not released homeless or into destitution, or with inadequate support, leaving them more at risk of abuse and exploitation.

Wherever possible, the ‘through the gate’ support usually provided by WIP (particularly from HMP Bronzefield and HMP Foston Hall) will continue to be delivered, subject to staff availability and based on thorough individual risk assessments. Where physical support cannot be provided this will be provided remotely. In conjunction with the Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance all women leaving HMP Styal and returning to Greater Manchester will be provided with remote support. This includes an information pack, phone support on the day of release, advocacy with other services including probation throughout the day as needed and the provision of a ‘starter’ food and toiletries pack.

Campaigns Team

Our Campaigns team continues to deliver as usual from remote locations. We are campaigning hard for the rights of women in prison during Covid-19, for early release and for adequate housing, financial and other support for women released into the community and those living in the community already. On the 31st March the Government announced the early release of pregnant women and those in prison Mother & Baby Units. This announcement and those on early release since have come after a period of intense campaigning by WIP with partners including Birth Companions, INQUEST, APPEAL and Prisoner Advice Service (PAS). We continue to campaign for a significant and urgent reduction in the prison population


WIP Team



General Enquiries including information onprison-based services

[email protected]

www. womeninprison.org.uk

0207 359 6674

WomenMATTA (Manchester)

General: [email protected]

Referrals: [email protected]

07850 514918

Beth Centre (Lambeth)

South London Hubs

General: [email protected]

Referrals: [email protected]

0203 869 2170


Women’s Support Centre (Surrey)

General: [email protected]

Referrals: [email protected]

01483 726621

07504 135 984

Healthy Foundations

General: [email protected]

Referrals: [email protected]

07714 076 939

0207 359 6674

Bluebird Service (formally Complex Needs)

General: [email protected]

Referrals: [email protected]

07776 768 735

0207 359 6674

Campaigns & Press

[email protected] [Press]

07782 298065