About Alana House

Alana House is a community project run by PACT that uses a holistic and trauma-informed approach to support and empower women facing multiple disadvantages.

We offer a confidential, women-only, non-judgemental space and welcome all women who feel they need help, support and advice.

Alana House has a women-only centre in Reading but we also provide outreach services across Berkshire. 

Alana House Reading opened in April 2010, adopting the recommendations from the Corston Report, which identified nine pathways of support and the trauma-informed approach needed to support women.

Initially established to support women who had committed offences but were often victims of trauma themselves, Alana House has developed over the years to support all women with multiple or complex needs who are looking for support to help make positive life changes. 

Watch this short film to find out more about Alana House

The Nine Pathways

Women are offered information and support in line with the nine pathways to help empower them to make positive life changes, develop new skills and create new opportunities.


Attitudes, thinking and behaviour

Children, families and relationships

Domestic abuse, violence and rape

Drugs and alcohol

Education, training and employment

Finance, benefits and debt

Health and well-being

Sex working

Our Aims

We explore these pathways to bring about positive change by:  

  • Empowering women to reflect on their lives and make a plan to address their needs, increasing their independence and facilitating their access to mainstream services. 
  • Addressing the individual barriers to employment, education and training.  
  • Diverting women from custody by addressing the causes of crime and therefore reducing the impact on the community. 
  • Providing opportunities to access benefit and welfare advice, NHS sexual health treatment, housing and specialist drug and alcohol advice, in one safe place. 

How do we help? 

Alana House meets women at their point of need and supports them to identify and work towards individual goals. We support women through individual keywork, group work, drop-in sessions, outreach, partnership with specialist agencies and partner agency-led courses and information sessions. Alana House also enables women to access practical help with washing, shower facilities, food supplies and computer use. 

Alana House is committed to valuing diversity, promoting equality of opportunity for all and ensuring that our services reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. We will take a person-centred and case-by-case approach to the inclusion of all women and all of our support work is open to all service users who identify as women. We are able to support:

  • Women who are assigned female gender at birth
  • Individuals who have acquired female gender through the statutory gender recognition process
  • Transgender women including non-binary people and people transitioning to become female. As we provide a safe space for women, men are not permitted on site and therefore we are not able to support non-binary people who were assigned male gender at birth
The transgender flag
The transgender flag

For more details on our approach to supporting transgender and non-binary service users, read our Transgender Policy here.

To access our services, women need to be referred to Alana House. Voluntary or community-based organisations can refer women to our services or women can choose to refer themselves.

Once someone has been referred to Alana House and our team has accepted the referral, they can begin accessing support. We run a programme of groups and sessions to best meet the needs of those who use our services. Details of which groups are currently running for service users can be found in our calendar. To book onto any group or session, women will need to speak to their assigned Alana House support worker.

See the impact of our work

“When I started working with [my support worker], I was in a really bad place in my life… I really didn’t know what to expect from yet another professional coming into my space. In time I learnt to trust her. I knew that she was genuinely there for me and she was giving me a voice.”  – Alana House service user

Learn more


Howard League for Penal Reform Award

Alana House has twice won a prestigious national ‘Howard League for Penal Reform’ award, acknowledging the positive impact it has on the women it supports and their wider communities. In 2017 the award was for the Enrich Project, a partnership programme run with Thames Valley Police, ‘Change, Grow, Live’ drug and alcohol service and Reading Borough Council’s ‘Troubled Families’ service.

Alana House was also nominated for the Howard League award in 2019 for its ‘Job Skills’ course, which works with women to build confidence and give practical advice as they seek employment. 

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

In 2022, Alana House was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Queen’s Award is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE. The award recognises outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities.