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Hidden Heroes
The men and women working in UK prisons, IRCs, probation and youth justice are true #HiddenHeroes.

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Hidden Heroes Day

The COVID pandemic made us as a society more conscious of and grateful for the work of our “hidden heroes” – those public servants whose work is often unappreciated and who continued to work as normal while the rest of us were isolated at home. Of course, we mainly thought about our nurses and doctors who were on the front line and trying to save lives from a new and aggressive disease.

However, as time went on, our thoughts turned to the legions of other public servants whose work we tended to take for granted. Eventually, with the help of the Butler Trust, we started to think of prison and probation staff as well as those working in youth justice and immigration removal centres. The work of these staff was invisible to most people – prison officers because their work was hidden from public view (unless you were in their care or a family member) and probation staff whose public profile hardly ever registered on the national consciousness with the occasional exception of a notorious serious further offence.

Friday 29 September

Friday 29 September is the fourth annual #HiddenHeroes Day in tribute to everyone working in UK prisons, IRCs, probation, escorts, and youth justice services.

While the idea of a special day to say thank you to criminal justice staff started in 2020, at the height of Covid, it feels as important as ever to show them they are appreciated and not forgotten.

#HiddenHeroes Day has generated some real enthusiasm in previous years.

There have been messages of support and thanks too from colleagues, families, and friends across the country, as well as from ordinary members of the public, while managers up and down the country showed their appreciation in a host of different ways – there were flags flown, speeches made, gifts given, awards presented, games played, food served

In 2021, the Governor of HMP Woodhill even unveiled a #HiddenHeroes garden dedicated to staff and The Princess Royal visited HMP/YOI Brinsford to mark the event and thank staff personally.

Many #HiddenHeroes themselves took the opportunity of the day to raise money for charities, in particular those dedicated to mental health, as a recognition of the stresses and trauma that criminal justice professionals experience as part of their working life.

One of my favourite features of the #HiddenHeroes celebrations is that the day has been taken up by people in every country of the United Kingdom with the Scottish and Northern Irish services keen to be involved.

You can find more information on the day, and how it has been celebrated around the country in previous years here.

Many people use the medium of X (née Twitter) to celebrate the day via @HiddenHeroesDay which is a great place both to share your support and to find out how the day has been celebrated in previous years.

You can see the most recent tweets below:

The fourth annual national #HiddenHeroes Day is on Friday 29 September 2023. Follow the celebrations here and add your own messages of support using the #HiddenHeroes hasthtag. For more about the day visit

Last week @HMPYOI_Hindley celebrated #hiddenheroes day. Prisoners and Staff were asked to nominate their hidden heroes, we had some fantastic staff recognized for going that extra mile. Well done to all our hidden heroes @HiddenHeroes_UK ❤️❤️❤️

Applauding the staff at Hydebank Wood College and Women's Prison, and the @NIPrisons #HiddenHeroes who work in custodial and community justice settings across Northern Ireland. @HiddenHeroesDay

A huge thank you to all the organisations who were kind enough to give the prison raffle prizes for our staff event that celebrated @HiddenHeroes_UK day! They were much appreciated! /1

This year we harvested around 10 litres of honey from our bees. At the recent @HiddenHeroes_UK event we asked for donations to @foryoubyyou in exchange for a jar of honey. We raised over £150 from the honey alone! #workerbees #greatoutdoors #ecoarea #buzzing

On Thursday 29th September, SPS joined other UK Prison, Probation and Youth Justice services to mark Hidden Heroes day. A range of gestures were extended to SPS staff on the day, including those pictured below from HMPYOI Polmont.

Thank you to all of our Hidden Heroes.

We were delighted and honoured that the High Sheriffs of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, the King’s representatives, visited our prison to thank our wonderful staff for their exceptional work on #HiddenHeroes Day.

Last week's #HiddenHeroesDay was a chance to once again say thank you to all those working in custodial and community justice settings across the UK.

If you haven’t done already, please do share any images from the day using the #HiddenHeroesDay hashtag

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