Kind-hearted Chaplain Wins Prestigious Butler Trust Commendation

Julie and Princess Anne2A PRISON chaplain who established a clothing bank for women in custody during the Covid pandemic has been recognised for her kindness.

Julie Innes, who provides support for men and women at HMP & YOI Grampian, was nominated for her “enormous sense of care and compassion”.

During the pandemic, she launched a virtual recovery café and in-person ‘conversation cafés’, providing a safe space for open discussion in an informal setting.​​​​​​​

She was praised for sharing “positive and aspirational stories” throughout lockdown with those in HMP & YOI Grampian’s care, which helped to support their mental health and gave hope at a difficult time.

She established a clothing bank for the women in custody, collecting items from her local community to ensure everyone had access to warm and suitable clothing, toiletries, and essential items.

The bank has also provided white goods, food parcels, and other household items to women who had been released from custody and needed essential items.​​​​​​​

She has also recently completed an accredited course in counselling, to better support those in our care.

Julie began her work with the Scottish Prison Service as a chaplaincy volunteer, attending and supporting religious services, before becoming a permanent member of chaplaincy staff a few years later.

Starting her career with us during the pandemic, Julie ensured she built relationships and trust with all within HMP & YOI Grampian, and quickly found her feet, making an impact on all she worked with.

Prior to joining the SPS, Julie worked in residential rehab for 12 years, where she saw many individuals overcome addictions.

She used this experience to help people in custody see that recovery is possible.​​​​​​​

Julie received her commendation from HRH Princess Anne, at a ceremony held at St James' Palace, London, on 27th March.​​​​​​​

Julie and Princess AnneJulie said: “I count it an absolute privilege to be in the position I am in and have the opportunity to love people back to life.

“I do what I do because I love to see people find freedom and my passion drives me to set people up to win.

“I do feel that is my job, but I do see it more as a calling. I call it an honour to be able to pour into people out of the overflow of what’s been poured into me. I still pinch myself that this is my life now.”

Eilidh Smith, Head of Offender Outcomes at HMP & YOI Grampian, who nominated Julie for the recognition, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Julie is receiving this commendation from the Butler Trust for the work she does.

“As someone who consistently goes above and beyond to offer genuine care and support, Julie very much deserves this distinguished recognition.”


Mike Hebden, Governor of HMP & YOI Grampian, added: “Everyone at Grampian is delighted Julie has been recognised for the great work she carries out within the prison in support of those in our care. 

“It is always good to see such well deserving performance acknowledged but even more so when it comes from such a prestigious body as the Butler Trust.”