How we help

When a woman is referred to Alana House she is given a warm welcome and given an assessment appointment, where her needs are assessed and depending on these, she is then allocated a trained support worker. Each woman is offered an induction session which covers the range of services provided by Alana House as well as her background, presenting issues, needs and desired outcomes.

The support worker will talk with her about how she can achieve her outcomes and jointly produce a support plan.

Support workers use a holistic approach to ensure that women can access the best possible support and tools to achieve their goals. Each woman is offered regular 1-2 -1 sessions with her support worker, and encouraged to utilise the range of Alana House services to help her to achieve the outcomes outlined in her support plans which may also include support from our partner agencies.

Through this holistic support, many women are able to make positive changes in their lives, reducing the chaos and improving the outcomes for them and their families. Click the images at the bottom of the page for some Alana House case studies.

The key outcomes for the women attending Alana House include:

  • Improved skills and employment prospects
  • Improved self-esteem, confidence and motivation to become independent
  • Safer lifestyles including stable accommodation and managing addictions
  • Better interpersonal skills including parenting skills and safeguarding children
  • Reduced anti-social and criminal behaviour, offending and custodial sentences therefore helping to break the intergenerational cycle of offending

A recent report by Baker Tilly and the Cass Business School measured the social return on investment of Alana House. The research concluded that the effects of Alana House are ‘life changing’. Evaluated conservatively, ‘over £35 million of economic and social value, in the lives of these women and their children, is brought every year.’


  • Case study 1

    Alana House service user, how we help

    This woman was referred to Alana House by DAIS. She was severely depressed and was addicted to sleeping pills. She had debt issues, was feeling isolated and in general ill health.

    An Alana House Support worker was assigned to the woman and worked with her to develop her support plan. She was referred her to Mothertongue and Talking Therapies for counselling. The Support worker advised the woman to attend CAB for debt advice and suggested that she attended New Directions at Alana House for the English course to give her confidence and to improve her English. The Support worker joined her on visits to doctors appointments, solicitors appointments and the job centre to support her. Further activities within the community were also suggested for the woman to join in to help her engage with others.

    When this woman first came to Alana House she was unable to talk without crying, did not make eye contact and could not be around people. She had low self esteem and confidence and could not see a bright future for herself. She had a bad 12 months where her health had deteriorated and she was in hospital due to pneumonia. She was also diagnosed with Diabetes during this period and was not able to attend regular keyworker sessions and found it difficult to leave her house. During this time her mental health suffered as well. Over the last 4-6 months the woman has appeared more confident and is feeling healthier. And as a real testament, she has also started a part time job.

    The woman is still in therapy, but her mental health has improved and she is swimming and exercising more. She has dealt with her debts and is now making regular payments and is no longer worried about the post coming through the door each day. She has been attending English classes - passing her exams and making friends. This  has really helped her, and she has grown in confidence.  She has recently started part time work as an Interpreter at the hospital, giving her much needed self-confidence and skills. She has just taken her first holiday with her daughter in years.

    Next steps

    The woman will continue with her part time work and will start the English course again in the new term. Her support worker will introduce her to other centres that provide support as a piece of outreach work to encourage her to expand her social life.

    Service user quote

    “This is my second home, it’s the best place. Everyone is friendly. I was almost dead when I arrived here...i had no hope. Now i feel so much better. Alana House has helped a lot. I am alive because of DAIS sending me here and my support worker at Alana House. There are no words to explain how Alana House has helped me. From where I was and where I am now.”

  • Case study 2

    Alana House service user, how we help

    This woman was known to the probation service as a result of fraud. She had been struggling to manage her finances which led up to her offence. She also had a history of substance misuse. This was managed by KCA Prescribing Services and she had a Methadone prescription, however the woman stated she was keen to reduce her intake. She was living in a basement flat in Reading. The property had a lot of damp on the ceilings and walls. The woman found life difficult at times because she had experienced a bereavement. Initially. The woman had a desire to gain a qualification in literacy and IT.

    The woman received a full induction at Alana House and a support plan was devised, which included: sorting out the damp in her flat, improving her self esteem and assertiveness, money management and to encourage her to engage in New Directions courses at AH to achieve a GCSE in Literacy, Maths and IT. The Alana House Support Worker supported the woman to manage her finances by working through a budgeting plan.

    By working on a budget plan she was able to see on paper the amount of money she received and the amount of money she should be spending to cover her financial commitments, she was surprised at how much she could save.  The Support Worker applied to The Earley Charity for a grant to buy the woman a fridge freezer so that she could shop more efficiently and budget her money. She was also referred to CAB for extra support with debt management and to check she was receiving the correct benefits. The woman was struggling with a recent bereavement so the Support Worker referred her to Cruse Counselling who specialise in bereavement counselling. Then the Support Worker supported the woman with being assertive and gave her examples on how this may look and sound. One of her concerns was that she did not want to appear to be being rude to others. However, she overcame this fear and was encouraged to speak to her landlord regarding the damp in her flat. The landlord responded to her concerns and arranged for someone to come to the property and resolve the damp problem for her. The landlord also paid for a decorator to come and re-decorate for her. A referral was made to New Directions so she was able to access Literacy, Numeracy and IT courses at Alana House.

    The woman has developed skills that have increased her confidence and improved her self esteem. She regularly attends the Alana House drop in sessions which encourage social inclusion and making friends - this has also improved her self esteem and confidence. She is slowly making progress with being more assertive and speaking up in a group setting giving her opinion. She is managing her finances effectively at present and is planning to start the New Direction courses in the near future.

    The woman is engaging well with services and continues to work on her self development. She is feeling more confident with a higher level of self esteem and more able to move forward and live a positive life. Her money management and budgeting has improved and she is linked in with New Directions and counselling services for on going development and support.                                                       

    Next steps

    The woman will be encouraged to continue to attend drop in’s at Alana House and the Support Worker is due to close clients case to ‘drop in only’ in the near future.

    Service user quote

    “I am grateful to have had support from Alana House. They have helped me rebuild my confidence and I am now achieving the goals that I have set for myself.”

  • Case Study 3

    Alana House service user, how we help

    Angie is aged 56 and from Reading.


    Before coming to Alana House she was in a violent relationship and was using alcohol and prescription medicine. Angie described herself as “in a really bad way”. Five and a half years ago a friend gave her a leaflet for Alana House.

    Angie said: “Alana House pointed me in the right direction, supported me and helped me use the phone. They put me in touch with an alcohol group and I talked about my experiences with IRIS.” (IRIS Reading is the adult drug treatment service for Reading)

    Angie began to attend the drop-sessions regularly and still comes now. She said “they were helpful when I couldn’t get out.” She also has one-to-one sessions and an Alana House worker supports her at appointments as she is hard of hearing – a consequence of her previous violent relationship.

    Angie recently attended a domestic violence programme and says “The domestic violence programme was very good, it all made sense to me.” “I’ve met great people, great friends at Alana House. It’s a place to come and be safe. Things are better now. People come here for all different reasons, nobody judges. There’s good leaflets for other places.”

    “Alana House pointed me in the right direction.”

  • Case study 4

    Alana House service user, how we help

    Eva, aged 36, is originally from Eastern Europe and now lives in Reading. She first engaged with Alana House in 2015 but stopped attending after a short time. She got back in touch with the service in April 2016.

    Eva has a history of mental health problems, has experienced domestic violence and is a single mum to Stephanie aged seven. She is also receiving treatment for breast cancer. Eva was unfairly evicted from her private rented accommodation and was facing a move to temporary accommodation away from Reading. Eva had been denied Legal Aid which she had requested for a court case about the visitation rights of Stephanie’s father.

    Since reengaging, Eva has been having one-to-one sessions with an Alana House Support Worker. After writing to Eva’s local councillors for support and, with the help of the Housing Needs Worker who attends Alana House once a week, Eva’s Support Worker has helped her secure self-contained accommodation within Reading, and apply for funding for white goods. Eva has also been supported to apply for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance). The worker helped Eva successfully appeal the decision not to be awarded legal aid and she now has a lawyer supporting her case against visitation rights which is currently going through court. Eva’s Support Worker also accompanies Eva to chemotherapy sessions to offer emotional support.

    Going forward, Eva will receive counselling at Alana House once her physical health has improved and Stephanie has been referred to Bounce Back 4 Kids - PACT’s project for families affected by domestic abuse.


  • Case study 5

    Alana House service user, how we help

    Kimberly aged 36 is from Ascot and has been coming to Alana House since July 2016.  After seeking support from her local Citizens Advice Bureau following a traumatic incident, she was referred to Alana House as a vulnerable woman

    Kimberly previously had a good job in a school and described herself as an “active employee.” Kimberly was referred to Alana House as she is part of a vulnerable family which was targeted by abuse, causing a split withinin the family. Kimberly describes “a traumatic incident of ethnic and religious persecution.” Kimberly was being blamed for what was happening and people were taking advantage of her.

    Kimberly has attended drop-in sessions and has a 1-1 worker. She says “Alana House is a nice release, I’ve made lots of friends and feel better. Alana House helps with employment, money and health. It is building my self-esteem and I know now that I am not a bad person. Alana House is confidence-building.”

     “Alana House helps with employment, money and health.”


  • Case Study 6

    Alana House service user, how we help

    Ruth, who lives in Reading, has been a carer for her elderly mum since the age of nine years old. Her mum who has learning difficulties is now 82 and her Dad suffers from mental health problems. Ruth suffers from anxiety and depression and  believes the stress of being a carer caused these mental health problems. She said: “As a carer you don’t always ask for help.”

    A friend suggested she come along to Alana House. Ruth says: “I wasn’t sure it was the right place at first, I was wary, it was all new.” Ruth began coming regularly, then lost touch for a while but now attends regularly.

    Ruth said: “I come to drop-in which is so important when you feel alone otherwise you have the mindset that no one cares and you’re on a downward spiral. It’s good that you can come whenever you want. The staff are approachable, I feel supported.”

    Since Ruth has been coming to Alana House again, she has been able to attend a big family event, she said: “I went even though I was anxious about it, I used to avoid things like that.”

    She says: “With anxiety, the more support you have the better. No one should be alone, at Alana House there are people there. Helpful smiley people. Alana House is somewhere I can come at my saddest and at my happiest.”

     “The staff are approachable, I feel supported.”