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MENTORING FOR SUCCESS

MENTORING FOR SUCCESS – GLASGOW COUNCIL ON ALCOHOL
BY LINDA MCINALLY, Head of Operations, Glasgow Council on Alcohol

Glasgow Council on Alcohol (GCA) has been a partner in the Community Justice Glasgow Partnership for a number of years, providing justice specific services for those whose offending behaviour is deemed to be underpinned by their alcohol addiction issues.

We understand well the links between alcohol and offending and provide effective person centred, outcome led approaches to tackle this.  Our approach builds a trusting relationship and understanding of the wider context of people’s lives to co-produce support plans based on immediate and longer–term needs in relation to their alcohol and/o drug dependency issues.  Alcohol Focus Scotland in drawing together a summary of facts and figures gleaned from several sources notes that:

We also know that people turn to alcohol and drugs for many reasons – often to mask deep seated long standing issues from their past.  We need to provide services that can deal with these issues to enable people to make progress and move forward towards a more positive life, where re-offending is no longer a feature.

We have previously submitted articles to the Community Justice Partnership Annual Report, both in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, these articles are still relevant today, you can click the links below to read these:

2017 – 2018 – ‘ROOTING OUT’ ALCOHOL RELATED RE-OFFENDING

2018 – 2019 – PUNISHING BROKEN OFTEN TRAIMATISED PEOPLE DOES NOT WORK

For this article I wanted to give a bit more detail about our newer approaches to mentoring.

GCA Mentoring Experience – GCA and the Reconnecting with Options in the Community (ROC) programme, commissioned by Glasgow Health & Social Care Partnership to take referrals from Social Workers in the city. GCA have adopted a mentoring approach to service delivery, working alongside men and women to develop support plans, identify personal goals, and provide the practical support tailored to each individual – in the hope of referring them on to other services who are skilled a meeting different needs for different aspects of people’s lives.  This approach ensures that not only their immediate needs, but longer term needs, goals and aspirations can be met.

Building a working relationship – The aim of the GCA Mentoring Service is to provide a non-judgemental caring service to encourage clients who need additional support to live independently and meet statutory requirements.

To enable this our mentors will arrange appointments in a safe environment to help both the client and mentor feel at ease with each other. Our mentors use active listening and an empathic approach to learn about the client’s life, well-being and hobbies, while giving the client the tools to enable them to take responsibility for their actions and promote independence.

Returning to the community following a prison sentence – our mentors will fully support the client to adjust to their new way of life. In the first instance by assisting them with immediate and practical needs such as registering with the local doctor, dentist, jobcentre and bank. Once the benefits and bank accounts have been set up they will explore the shopping facilities in the area and find out the location of other amenities such as the Library, Citizens Advice Bureau, Swimming Pool, Gym or any other interests the client may have in the hope of the client making plans to move forward and help themselves.

The local bus and train stations will also be explored, obtaining timetables and the cost of travel to enable the client to attend appointments with support from the mentor initially – it is about Reconnecting with the Community, it is important for people to feel safe and rooted to help with their recovery. 

Covid 19 – During lockdown weekly phone calls were made to the clients to keep the lines of communication open. This helped build the relationship between client and mentor.

Since the easing of lockdown our mentors have arranged small healthy walks with clients to help with their physical and mental health; depending on the ability of the client. This is then followed by a coffee and a chat at a local café.

The difference our support makes to people is best demonstrated by the people who engage with our services.  Over 2019–20 we successfully mentored 24 people – with that said, I will leave you with an example of one of those journeys.

Case Study – A Journey from Prison after 10 Years

A Client was referred from Cornton Vale Prison, Social Work team.  The initial assessment was arranged with Prison staff so that it could take place in Cornton Vale prison. The client was being released after serving 10 years in prison and found it really difficult to trust anyone as she felt let down by the system and Social Work.

Before being in prison the client had been a hard working mum of 3 children, and had never been in any kind of trouble before she was worried that there would be no support for her when she left prison, her mum had been diagnosed with cancer and she was the oldest sibling, so the family relied on her for support. She was also in a legal battle with her ex-partner to regain sole custody of her children. Areas identified for support were our client’s emotional wellbeing and possibly support to attend appointments

Interventions – A care plan was agreed with our client, starting with weekly one to one support on the days she had day release from prison, which would continue when she was liberated.  We also supported her to attend appointments- particularly to the lawyer’s office and to fill out paperwork.

Outcomes – Our Client attends on a weekly basis and we will continue with one to one support, she is also attending our group work programme  which she feels helps with her fear of judgement and  helping her gain confidence.

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