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BY BILLY MCGUIRE, Career Service Team Leader, Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

on the impact real stories made on the outcomes of a Community Justice event with partners and colleagues.                        

We had planned a Community Justice Continuous Professional Development (CPD) event for our own Skills Development Scotland (SDS) team at Parkhead back in November 2019 but felt it a great opportunity to start a wider conversation.  The event was held at the SDS Career Centre in Parkhead, and an invitation extended to adviser colleagues from other Glasgow SDS centres with similar interest to hear about and discuss engaging partners and the community.

The three themes for the day were Homelessness, Recovery (Addictions), and Employability Services for people who had a history of offending and/or convictions.

The day began with a presentation from the Glasgow Community Justice Partnership giving a strategic overview, followed by speakers from Criminal Justice and Social Work Homelessness Team. 

We then introduced Callum Hutchison, from the Street and Arrow Project who featured on the Panorama programme in July, ‘How Scotland Cut Violent Crime.

CLICK THE PICTURE TO VIEW THE PROGRAMME (available on BB iPlayer until June 2021)

Callum a father of two and former gang member who now campaigns against gang life, described his life of crime and the support he needed to escape his way of life. His powerful and emotive story helped to provide a focus for the workshop discussions which were delivered by the Positive Outcomes Project (POP), Choiceworks Glasgow and the Scottish Recovery Consortium. 

Our final guest speaker was James Docherty who organises the Ace Aware Scotland Events.  James works for both Community Justice Scotland and the Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow.  Like Callum, James had an extremely powerful and emotive story to tell and is extremely passionate about practitioners becoming trauma informed with their practice.

The event evaluation feedback from staff and partners was excellent and the event went down a storm thanks to our fantastic speakers, partners and the commitment of SDS advisers.

‘I got so much out of the day and it was refreshing to hear such incredible stories directly from those who have overcome their suffering and are now bravely sharing and giving back. It’s also helped me see there are far more organisations out there for us to be partnering with and referring to.’ Hilary Proverbs, SDS Byres Road

The event acted as a starting point for a focused conversation with our own teams about our role in Community Justice, and how we can make real progress through action.  It helped capacity build our partner agency network on the ground in Glasgow and we now have two-way customer referral processes in place with different community justice partners.  

The day also provided the team with an opportunity to better understand how our work at SDS supports the activity of the Community Justice Glasgow Local Outcome Improvement Plan. As a result, we now provide both one-to-one and group support to The Street & Arrow Project, helping to build individuals’ career management skills.

Our aim now is to have a Community Justice Champion within each SDS centre in Glasgow to ensure we keep teams and partners fully engaged, and we plan to build on our success by holding an annual event.

For more information on SDS, our career service and work with partners, visit www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk.

For details of our local centres and how to contact us, visit www.myworldofwork.co.uk/centres

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