welcome to the croft

CROFT – Barlinnie Visitors Centre – for friends and families of prisoners

First Visit to HMP Barlinnie? What You Need to Know

Visiting prison can be difficult for anyone – particularly if you’ve never visited before or have never visited a certain prison. The Croft has information sheets based on the questions we get asked by first time visitors to HMP Barlinnie. Below is a brief outline, please get in touch with us for more information by email or when you visit.

Before you get to Barlinnie

Booking a visit: you have to do this in advance, the system works differently for Remand or Convicted prisoners. More information is available here: http://www.sps.gov.uk/Prisons/Barlinnie/barlinnie-visiting.aspx Identification Documents: You need photographic ID and address ID to visit – you may be given time to get photographic ID if this is your first ever visit When to get to the prison: give yourself plenty of time to get to Barlinnie, usually you will not get in if you arrive after the “CUT-OFF TIME” What you can bring: if you’re bringing anything other than money for the prisoner this must be arranged in advance

In the Entrance Area

Where to sign in: go to the Visitors’ Booking Desk on the right in the entrance area, you will be asked who you are visiting and to show your ID. You will be given a table number for the visit. Leaving things for the prisoner: let staff at the Visitors’ Booking Desk know if you have items to leave in for the prisoner – this must be arranged in advance. For money, leave this at the Cash Desk on the left of the entrance area – there are limits to how much you can leave in. Lockers: You need to put any bags and coats or jackets with hoods in a locker before you go in to the Waiting Area. The ONLY things you can bring in are £10 in coins and some medications and/or some baby things – check this with prison staff.

In the Waiting Area

Family Information Hub: at the back of the Waiting Area is a seated area where staff from different charities (the Croft; Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Families Outside) give information and advice. When staff are not available there are leaflets and you can leave your contact details if you’d like to speak to someone Toilets: the ONLY available toilets are in the Waiting Area, including an accessible toilet and baby changing area Going up to the Visit: after the CUT-OFF TIME a prison officer will come in to the Waiting Area and call visitors through by table number Security / searches: You will then go through to the Visits Room via Security. There will be a Rub Down Search and may be a Drugs Search potentially with drugs dog.

In the Visits Room

Seating in the Visit: at each table there is one seat for the prisoner and 3 seats for visitors – the prisoner must stay in their seat for the visit Vending Machines: visitors can use the vending machines for themselves and the prisoner, but cannot share food with the prisoner. Prisoners cannot operate the vending machines. Play Area: Toybox children’s charity run a play area for some visits – check their timetable to find out when the play area is staffed, there is more information available in the Family Information Hub Child-Focused Visits: these take place in a different Visits Room with more facilities for children and more flexibility in contact with the prisoner. Check at the prison for more details – usually prisoners can access this type of visit a maximum of once per month.

More Information: help@croftglagow.org

Families Outside Helpline Freephone Advice: 0500 83 93 83 (office hours)


How will I cope when he’s in Prison?

We can give you information and reassurance and point you in the direction of more help if needed. The Croft can help you with general enquiries about visiting prison and how to get more help with coping with the effects of having a loved one in prison. The information below covers the 3 main areas visitors ask us about:  Money, debts and housing; How you and the family are coping; How your loved one in prison is coping. For further information, contact the Croft on help@croftglasgow.org. You can also contact Families Outside – a charity that works for families affected by imprisonment in Scotland. They have a freephone helpline from Monday – Friday 0500 83  93 83 – answerphone if not available.

I’m worried about money, debt, benefits or housing We can put you in touch with Helen McClymont on 0141 550 5903. Helen works for Parkhead Citizens’ Advice Bureau as the Prison Families Adviser. Helen can help if the prisoner is either your partner, parent, child or sibling – including step-parents / children / siblings. If you have a different relationship to the prisoner, Helen will also be able to arrange help for you. Helen is in the Croft every Wednesday afternoon and usually in Barlinnie during the week as well. We can either make an appointment for you or you can drop-in to see Helen on a Wednesday or you can contact her directly to make an appointment on a different day. Some additional information is also available from the Advice Guide website.

I’m worried about how me or the rest of the family will cope with him being in prison We can put you in touch with Dermot Dooley from Familes Outside. Dermot provides support and information to visitors who have experienced a family members’ imprisonment (family member can be anyone who is considered family). This support varies depending on each family, it could be emotional or practical concerns or a combination. Tracey and Jacqui work with the Croft staff and also use the stall in the Atrium. You can contact them directly or through the Croft. The Families Outside website has lots of useful information, including some Frequently Asked Questions and a Jargon buster.

I’m worried with how he’s coping in the prison You can contact the Family Contact Officers (FCOs) – prison officers who work specifically with the families of prisoners. You can ask for the FCOs (Tracy, Marion or John) when you visit or call 0141 770 2037. The FCOs have an office in the prison with a 24 hour answer machine and will get back to family members who are worried about how the prisoner is doing in Barlinnie. For further information, contact the Croft on this website or: help@croftglasgow.org

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Job Vacancies with the Croft, HMP Barlinnie

The Croft, Visitors’ Support and Advice Centre, HMP Barlinnie

Support Worker (21 hours per week)   This post is initially funded until end of March 2017; salary £23,500 pro rata – email applications to help@croftglasgow.org

Application Pack: Croft Support Worker Job Description and Person Specification

Croft HMP Barlinnie Application Form

The role involves outreach work in the public areas of the prison, creating a welcoming environment and supporting people with information, advice and signposting. The ideal candidate will have experience working in a Prison Visitors’ Centre or similar setting; we are particularly looking for someone who has experience working with children and young people.

Closing date for applications 11 April; interviews 27 April. Please send applications to help@croftglasgow.org

The Croft is a Scottish Charity (SC044589)

The Croft is looking for people to join our small staff team, supporting families affected by imprisonment, whilst they are visiting HMP Barlinnie in North Glasgow. We have been supporting families at Barlinnie since 2012 and have recently secured additional Scottish Government funding to develop our work.


The role involves assertive outreach work in the public areas of the prison, creating a welcoming environment and supporting people with information, advice and signposting. The ideal candidate will have experience working in a Prison Visitors’ Centre or in a similar front line setting supporting members of the public. We are particularly looking for someone who has experience of working with children and young people. Please note that this role does not currently involve direct work with prisoners.

Key attributes we are looking for include:

Interest in the impact of the imprisonment of a loved one, particularly the impact on children and young people

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with calm, considered approach

Ability to work in a small team including volunteers and to work on own initiative

Experience of partnership working with both voluntary and statutory agencies

Sound administrative skills, including use of computers, email and internet


To accommodate visiting times at the prison, the role will usually involve working 12-8pm on three weekdays, with a break of one hour at some time between 2.30-4.30pm. If you are interested but unable to commit to these shifts – please see below about sessional cover. Shifts may vary slightly during the induction period, this will be agreed in advance with the successful candidate. Occassional weekend working may be required.


We have secured funding for this post until the end of March 2017, with potential continuation of the post subject to extension funding.


Closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 11th April, candidates who have been selected for interview will be contacted by Monday 18th April and interviews will be held on Wednesday 27th April. We also hope to offer the opportunity for interviewees to visit the Croft and meet some of our staff on Sunday 24th or Monday 25th April. Due to having a very small staff team, we are sorry but we cannot respond to all applicants.


We are also potentially looking for sessional workers to provide additional cover on an as and when basis. This role is paid hourly and will also include 12-8pm shifts and some weekend shifts from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Sessional shifts are usually agreed in advance on a monthly rota, with some short notice shifts to cover unexpected staff absence. If you are interested in applying for sessional work, please email your interest to help@croftglasgow.org – we will contact people in May.

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Aberdeen Video Visits


Video Visits are available for friends and families in or near Aberdeen for prisoners who are in HMP & YOI Grampian, Barlinnie, Perth and Polmont. Video visits are held in Aberdeen at Apex Scotland premises on Union Street.  You will see the prisoner on the TV screen and be able to speak to them through ‘webcam’. The visiting rules will be the same as the prison.


Call Grampian prison on 01779 485 640.

Phone Line opening times:

MONDAY – FRIDAY   9.30am – 1pm; 2pm – 3.30pm AND 6pm – 7pm


TWO forms of identification are required. You will need to show photographic ID (passport, driving licence, citizens card) and a letter with your name and address (Utility bill, bank statement etc).

Visitors must be on the prisoner’s visiting list.

Visitors must be 10 minutes early prior to the visit.

The Virtual Visits will not be recorded although the rooms used at Apex are covered by CCTV throughout the building.


“Staff very friendly and made me feel more relaxed. Video link is a good idea and more accessible than travelling”

“It’s really good to have the Video visits and the staff are great and helpful”

APEX SCOTLAND   48A Union Street  Aberdeen    AB10 1BB    01224 611 875 

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Road Closures Sunday 7th September 2014

If you’re travelling to Barlinnie on Sunday 7th September, please be aware that there are road closures in the East End of Glasgow due to the Pedal for Scotland event.

Please allow extra time for your journey that day.

Road Closureshttp://www.pedalforscotland.org/media/12561/pfs14_-_notification_-_resident_notification_letter_-_final.pdf 

• Closure of Saltmarket, High Street, Duke Street, Cumbernauld Rd and A8 Edinburgh Road to Easter Queenslie Road from 07:00hrs to 12:00hrs
• Closure from Auchingill Road to the end of Lochend road with Gartcosh Road
• Temporary three-way traffic lights at junction of Gartcosh Road and Lochend Road

Bus Alterationshttp://www.travelinescotland.com/situationconsole/newsDetails.do?id=ID-02/09/2014-10:09:30

We expect all First Bus 38 buses to be disrupted, although not all are listed at the link above, also First Bus services 41; 43; 60 and 90

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Volunteering with the Croft

Are you calm and approachable?

Are you interested in working with people and learning new skills?

The Croft gives information and support for people visiting loved ones in prison

We’re looking for volunteers aged over 18 to train to work with us

Drop-in information session in Riddrie Library, Glasgow

Thursday 13th March 2014       3pm-7pm

Call or email to find out more

0141 770 5694         bvc.croft@hotmail.co.uk


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Christmas Opening

Over Christmas and New Year, Croft staff will be available in the Family Information Hub:

Sunday 22nd December & Sunday 5th January

At other times, please email or complete a Contacts Slip and leave in the box in the Atrium – the box and emails will be checked on Mondays and Thursdays


Useful Numbers

SUPPORT & INFORMATION: Families Outside FREEPHONE: 0500 83 93 83

(closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day)


HOUSING: Shelter Scotland: 0808 800 44 44

(closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)


EMOTIONAL SUPPORT: Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

(available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

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Travel Expenses

Assisted Prison Visits Scheme (APVS )is a service set up to help families on a low income to be able to afford to visit people in prison.

Apply to become part of APVS, you can then claim for 2 visits per month.

You can apply for public transport, car mileage and – in some cases – overnight visits.

Pick up a copy of the APVS form from the Croft or ask the Family Contact Officers in HMP Barlinnie.

Croft staff and volunteers can help you to fill in the form.

There are a number of restrictions (see below) on APVS, these are outlined in the Customer Service Guide which comes with the application form – remember, you must be aged over 16 to apply.

        Relationship to the Prisoner (pages 5-7)

To apply for travel expenses, you need to be either:

Close relative: husband, wife or civil partner; parent or grandparent; brother or sister; child – including step or adoptive OR

Partner: you have to have been living with the prisoner immediately before their remand or imprisonment OR

Sole visitor: the only person who visits the prisoner in any 28 day period OR

Escort: someone who helps a child or an adult who needs assistance getting to the prison because they are aged 75 or over or are receiving Disability Living Allowance.

Income (pages 8-9)

To get travel expenses, you need to be receiving one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Employment Support Allowance (Income Related)
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Tax Credit: if there is a Child or Disability element
  • Pension Credit
  • Health Certificate 2 or 3

If you don’t receive any of these, but have a very low income, you can ask for this to be considered.

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Extra Opening at the Croft – Barlinnie Prison Visitors’ Centre

From November 8th, the Croft will be at Barlinnie Atrium from 4.30-7.30pm on Thursdays.

On Thursdays we will be providing information on support available for familes and friends of prisoners.

The Croft is also at the Atrium on Sunday afternoons from 12.30-3.30pm.

If you visit someone at HMP Barlinnie and want somewhere to wait for a visit, come and spend some time at the Croft. We have free hot drinks, space to eat your own food, an information service, toilets and baby changing facilities and an unsupervised  play area. The Croft is wheelchair accessible – please phone if you want to check about any specific requirements you have.

The Croft is also open every Wednesday afternoon from 12.30-3.30pm.

To get to the Croft via public transport, take the bus to the row of shops on Cumbernauld Road, 2 stops before Barlinnie – we are just across the road on the corner of Cumbernauld Road and Smithycroft Road.

The Croft is based in the hall of St. Enoch’s church at 19 Smithycroft Road in Riddire and runs a minibus to HMP Barlinnie which leaves during opening times 30 minutes before the Cut-Off Time.

For more information, contact Catriona or Janette on 0141 770 5694 or bvc.croft@hotmail.co.uk

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Croft Opening

On an unexpectedly sunny afternoon, over 80 people joined volunteers and staff at the Croft in Riddrie for its formal opening on Thursday 5th July. The Croft welcomed members of the local community and organisations working with prisoners and their families to witness the official opening by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Brigadier Hugh Monro CBE.

The Croft supports the family members and friends of prisoners in HMP Barlinnie. It was set up by a group of organisations interested in the welfare of prisoners’ families and is based in St. Enoch’s Hogganfield church hall in Riddrie. The Croft is also supported by the adjacent St. Thomas’ church through the use of their minibus. Croft volunteers, who come from across Glasgow and also include members of both churches, gave a tour of the centre.

Whilst formally declaring the Croft open, Hugh Monro took the opportunity to thank all involved in setting up the Croft and ensuring that it has reached this significant stage. He particularly noted that this model has the capacity to counter arguments that Prison Visitors’ Centres are not practical for all prisons and praised HMP Barlinnie for their considerable support of the Croft.

Professor Nancy Loucks, Chief Executive of Families Outside spoke of the network of Prison Visitors’ Centres and the essential support they provide for families and friends of prisoners.  Anna Doonan, Vice Chair of Families Addiction Support Services (FASS) gave the families’ perspective on prison visiting – reminding the audience of the kinship carers who often bear the brunt of a prison sentence as much if not more so than the prisoners themselves. Anna welcomed the opening of the Croft and the consultation work already carried out with FASS as an organisation providing a service user perspective.

Guests were also invited to visit stalls from a range of organisations working with children, families and in health and education. As a project embedded in the local community, with strong support from both local churches, there was of course, some outstanding home-baking to be enjoyed, as well as fresh fruit supplied by Kids and Co.

The Croft is now open on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons in the St. Enoch’s Hogganfield hall, 19 Smithycroft Road in Riddrie. The Croft provides a relaxed space with free hot drinks and space to eat a packed lunch or takeaway. There is also an unsupervised children’s play area, toilets and a baby changing area. On Wednesdays, Helen McClymont the CAB Prison Families Adviser runs a surgery in the Croft and there are also information and advice leaflets available at all times. A minibus runs to Barlinnie from the Croft during opening hours – leaving 30 minutes before the visit Cut-Off Times.

If you would like to know more about the Croft as a visitor, potential volunteer or organisation please contact Catriona or Janette on 0141 770 5694 or bvc.croft@hotmail.co.uk

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