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We are connected…

November 20, 2015

Our 3 new approaches (people-led, strengths-based and connected) are central to each of our new funding streams and will help us better understand and make good judgements about strengths, opportunities and issues in communities across Scotland.

The next addition to this week’s series of blog posts features a great example of a project that uses a connected approach.

Run by Faith in Community Scotland, the ‘Faith in Throughcare’ project links to community groups and organisations to create volunteering opportunities for people leaving prison.

What Big Lottery Fund Scotland loves about the project: 

faith in throughcareThe project connects prison leavers with their local community, establishing relationships and providing opportunity. Alongside volunteer opportunities, project team members support prison leavers by introducing them to support groups, recreational groups and social clubs in their local community.

Introducing a prison leaver to existing groups established in their community is another way to connect that individual to people and services who can offer support at a time of transition.

The organisation was awarded £901,471 in 2014 for a 5 year project.

How they did it:
Morag Sievwright, Development Co-ordinator, Faith in Throughcare, said: “When someone comes out of prison, they come back into the mix of the whole community, sometimes a community that stigmatises and isolates. By becoming a contributor to a community, rather than being perceived as a problem, someone returning from prison can be seen as a person with potential, build a new reputation, learn new skills and begin to feel values rather than criticised.

“This is why connecting with local organisations, faith and other faith in 2community groups is vitally important.  In particular connecting with faith groups, at the heart of their communities, opens up many volunteering opportunities and other resources.

“Supporting people leaving prison to access these opportunities in partner organisations increases the awareness in the local community of the issues affecting people after serving short prison sentences.”
“As community development workers, project staff get to know these other organisations and explore where we share values and aspirations. We risk assess. We develop a local reference group in each geographic community to advise us at grassroots level and this group is made up of representatives of the local faith and community groups we will work with. We determine how our participants might fit with any organisation offering opportunities for confidence building, learning and personal development. Our Volunteer Mentors ( who may be people who have been a prisoners themselves) may accompany the participant to an organisation and help the person settle in. This support could continue for a wee while until the participant becomes attached.”

CJW_0054“Numerous and varied activities and services are already there in all of the local communities we work in. They are there for everyone, but without our Mentors support, participants coming back from prison might not find their way into these at all, due to lack of trust, lack of self-confidence or lack of information. We are there to be community connectors and not another layer of services or a duplication of support that’s already available.”
The target is to help people develop their own positive relationships and networks which will enable them to enhance and transform their own lives, belong, contribute as active citizens – and have a quality of life that maintains them in the community.”

For more information go to our website http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/scotland

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