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ENGAGING WITH OTHERS TO SHARE THE LEARNING 19/20 – UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK

ENGAGING WITH OTHERS TO SHARE THE LEARNING 19/20 – UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
BY LYN PYPER, Administration & Partnership Support, Community Justice Glasgow

Community Justice Glasgow (CJG) is the central point of a Partnership of key bodies, taking forward different strands of the justice agenda in many directions.

Through our work, new connections are often made and our Partnership model is often looked to for advice, learning and information sharing.

In connection with the Social Enterprise theme, a programme by Strathclyde University ‘Co-Producing Justice: International Social Economy’ Network’  hosted an international conference on value and input by social enterprises to the justice system, looking at various examples of work from around the world.  A key participant to the study was University College Cork (UCC), who expressed an interest in Glasgow’s approach to connecting these two areas of work.

In November 2019 a delegation from UCC made a trip to Glasgow to visit and learn from the various social initiatives connected to CJG.  The visit was attended by Mary O’Shaugnessy and her team and a programme of visits devised to allow them to see first-hand the progress of social enterprises and the value to justice agenda for various groups of people in the justice arena.

The visit started at the Glasgow Dental Hospital (GDH) to the Street & Arrow venture,  where this social enterprise run a café serving food and refreshments to staff and customers of the GDH.  The concept of Street &Arrow is based on a programme of support which is offered to trainees wishing to exit the criminal justice system, and by providing them with catering skills and associated qualifications, links to a host of extensive supports through Navigators throughout the programme.  This allows them to examine individual issues, improve skills, confidence and employability prospects, and develop themselves to a point of desistance and change within their lives.  The programme is funded by SCVO and delivered by the Violence Reduction Unit, Police Scotland.

This work is closely linked to delivering on the Glasgow Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plan (CJOIP) priority around Employability as a Protective Factor in reducing the likeliness of re-offending.   

Next it was onto Grace Chocolates, based in Stirling, a social enterprise providing chocolate making skills to women in the justice system.  This comprises an 8 week programme allowing women to obtain food standard certificates and to learn the skill of making artisan Belgian truffles, which are offered for sale in various outlets across the country, along with a routine of work experience with mentoring support throughout can lead to an increase to their employability prospects when they complete the course. 

After lunch it was back to Glasgow for a visit to the Women’s Centre in Maryhill, where a social enterprise café is run for locals, alongside a nursery providing crucial childcare facilities.  Many of the women who have received support from the Centre then go on to provide support in the Centre, and feel its value is hugely important to supporting them away from the justice system.  Services include counselling, financial assistance, support into education and personal and social development. 

On the second day, the delegation visited Unlock Employment  in the Govan area of Glasgow.  This enterprise runs to assist those involved in justice system to examine and unlock key skills to assist them into employment, with the support of those who have already been through this system.

Finally, the trip concluded with a visit to Glasgow Wood Recycling Centre where work is carried out amongst participants on recycling wood products for re-use and sale to encourage employment skills amongst the participants. 

The delegation found all of the visits informative and of great value to each of the clients groups they serve.  Each illustrated the value of social enterprise in the justice arena, and felt the extension of such initiatives would continue to support both the enterprises themselves, the local economy and the integration of those in justice into programmes of meaningful and productive work.

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