Works for Freedom
Works for Freedom supports practice that empowers, by sharing knowledge and experience.
Website URL: http://www.worksforfreedom.org
Elmore Community Services is a registered charity that provides high quality services for marginalised and disenfranchised people throughout Oxfordshire.
Elmore aims to work with people with complex needs (including mental health) who do not easily fit into existing service provision or who need support to access service provision in their local community. They identify gaps and barriers in current provision and use this information to lobby for, and create and implement models of working that address these issues. They work directly with people on the margins of society and aim to support individuals to have equal access to the basic rights of society.
They provide both emotional and practical support. This might include helping individuals to register with a GP, support to access addiction services, making sure that they have support in court or help to sort out their benefits and finances. Elmore will help build confidence and independence so that people will feel ready to eventually stop working with them.
YES+ services are designed to explore the underlying causes of criminal and anti-social behaviour with a unique feature – they are the product of criminal experience. The YES+ team have 'walked the walk'; the majority have come from the same background and feel strongly they can help other young people make different choices.
All YES+ interventions are designed by the team and based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Techniques (CBT), personal experience and 'what works' research. The identification between YES+ Facilitators and their young client group helps to promote trust, empathy and credibility. This is a key factor in the delivery of the intervention - to divert young people from crime by empowering them to explore social responsibilities and lifestyle choices.
Caritas Anchor House is a residential and life skills centre for single homeless people. They support over 200 people each year, giving them so much more than just a roof over their heads. Their aim is to address the root causes of homelessness and create sustainable solutions that ensure the people we help will never find themselves in that situation again.
Identifying, addressing and finally overcoming the root causes of why someone is on the street is the cornerstone of Caritas Anchor House's success. Upon arrival, each individual becomes involved in their aspirations programme. This programme works with the individual so they can realise which areas of their lives need improving, what direction they want to take their life in, and through training and education, how to get there.
Anchor house also has a recovery hub available to its residents and the community who are in recovery from alcohol and substance misuse. It is made up of the Recovery Capital Programme, the Recovery Café, SMART Recovery meetings, Peer Mentoring, the Abstinence Day Programme and Mutual Aid groups.
The Upper Room is a charity working with the socially disadvantaged. They work with homeless people, economic migrants and people who have been in prison in order to help them improve their lives and conditions and give them the self confidence to become economically independent.
It began as a simple soup kitchen, and now runs three major services.
UR4Meals: feeds 90-120 people, five days a week, as well as providing free clothing and bedding, volunteer opportunities, support with health and housing, onward referrals and reconnection services.
UR4Jobs: a pioneering multilingual employment support service, largely for unemployed Central and Eastern Europeans. It aims to break the circuit of un-employability and homelessness among 300 beneficiaries a year by providing a personalised mix of administrative expertise, entry level skills training, motivational courses, bilingual counselling and access to legitimate jobs.
UR4Driving: a prize-winning project which aims to reduce recidivism among 30 individuals who have been sanctioned by the criminal justice system a year. The service teaches these individuals to drive in return for voluntary work and then treating their new driving licences as vocational qualifications for work in transport and warehousing. Since its launch in 2010, over 150 people with an offending history have or are still enrolled and only 3 have reoffended after passing their Driving Tests.
All of these services are free and have one aim: to improve people's lives by providing a safe, warm and friendly environment. Their services are personalised to suit the needs of each individual and The Upper Room pride themselves on finding innovative solutions to intractable social problems.
On Monday 7th April Dr Stephanie Covington will be delivering a special event in London on creating a trauma-informed culture within criminal justice and associated health & social care systems
The day will be led by Dr Stephanie Covington, a leading expert recognised for her pioneering work in the area of trauma. A clinician, author, organisational consultant, and lecturer, she specializes in the development and implementation of gender-responsive services and cultural change in both the public and private sectors.
This event forms part of a unique programme of workshops that shines the spotlight on women at risk within the criminal justice and associated health & social care systems. It will present solutions for transformative change to address the negative impact of trauma on health, mental health and the development of adverse outcomes such as offending.
It has been made possible through funding by Lady Edwina Grosvenor, the Bromley Trust and LankellyChase Foundation supported by a high level Women@Risk Coalition.
The audience will comprise of senior decision-makers and professionals across government departments, including Department of Health, Communi-ties & Local Government, Home Office, Ministry of Justice with colleagues from HMCTS, police, probation, prison and associated voluntary and statutory services.
Watch Stephanie Covington talk about what motivated her to work with women in custody.
Lightbox is a not-for-profit community interest company and its current project; 'The Happiness Project', is based in Bristol.
The project brings a signposting service and happiness workshops to Bristol with the aim to improve mental wellbeing in both individuals and communities. Those at Lightbox believe that our level of well-being affects people we may never even meet, and in this way we hold a lot of power.
'When we invest in our own happiness we are also investing in the happiness of the community and society we live in.'
Lightbox has worked alongside many support services in Bristol to work with usually hard to reach individuals. The happiness workshops are completely free to attend and are hugely creative; they aim to provide ideas and tools for individuals to take away after the workshop in order to maintain positive well-being.
The workshops follow different themes to remain available to everyone and beneficial to anyone. Prisons have previously sent out residents to attend workshops as part of their preparation for release and reintegration into the community. Lightbox also works with probation services in the community by providing a series of workshops in situ for their clients.
Work this Way provide training, work experience, employment opportunities and support to prisoners nearing the end of their sentence.
Work this Way has set up voluntary and paid work experience placements, drawing on third sector and public sector partnerships to help prisoners or ex-prisoners find employment. Along with accredited training and practical skills, individuals involved in the programme are be mentored and trained to develop essential work skills such as communications, timekeeping and team-working.
They currently run two programmes: Waste Works, where individuals are trained how to create beautiful furniture from waste, and Oil Works, where individuals learn how to take used cooking oils from prison kitchens and local businesses and turn it into clean Bio-diesel. Both of these are run at HMP Standford Hill in Kent.
After completing the programmes, all participants are offered follow-up support as they seek work. This could include practical and technical advice or making contact with relevant support agencies.
Miss Macaroon is a social enterprise that aims to help young care leavers and individuals who have had involvement in the criminal justice system in order to improve their skills and gain sustainable employment.
There are various workshops available that teach marginalised young people expert culinary skills, all the while improving their confidence, team working skills, social development skills and setting and achieving goals.
The experience in the work place alone is vital, and individuals are supported into further training if they wish to do so.
Street Doctors teach high-risk young people to deliver life saving first aid skills. They teach these young people the essential knowledge about dealing with stab and gun wounds, the basic biology behind them, and how to stay calm before help arrives.
In their workshops, that last between one and two hours, the Street Doctors aim to educate the high-risk youth with essential knowedge but also hope to change their attitudes towards violent crime and carrying weapons in the first place.
The charity was started in 2008 by two young medical students, however it has continued to grow and receive more support and is now available in most major English cities.
The Women at Risk Coalition is made up of frontline staff, senior psychiatrists, psychologists, academics and funders who between them have worked in the social care, health and criminal justice systems for many years.
They are united by a commitment to address the epidemic of mental illness among female prisoners and women at risk of criminal justice capture in Britain; an epidemic that more often than not stems from traumatic events earlier on in their lives.
From 24th March to 7th April this year, the Women at Risk Coalition will be working with the world's leading expert on trauma in custody, Dr Stephanie Covington, to deliver an ambitious programme of training and awareness raising among policy makers, criminal justice and health workers, ex-prisoners, trauma survivors and activists.
The impact of trauma
Emotional trauma can have adverse impacts on the lives of women and girls, including leading to involvement in the criminal justice system and prison secure psychiatric accommodation, chronic use of drugs and alcohol, street sex work, homelessness and other poor life trajectories.
In most systems women appear in disproportionately small numbers: five percent of the prison population; a third of the population detained in mental health settings; a third of the single homeless population in contact with services. Their needs, however, are often extreme in comparison with the majority of men in similar systems.
The populations recorded in each of these 'systems' overlap; they are essentially the same women.
Starting a revolution
Dr Stephanie Covington, is coming to Britain to kick start a revolution in how we treat female survivors of trauma in both custody and in the community. She will be concentrating on the unique needs of women and to expand on gender responsive policies and practices for women and girls at risk.
From parliament to the frontline, from Scotland to London, she will work with policy makers, frontline staff, the police, former prisoners and survivors of trauma in order to highlight how trauma manifests itself differently in women and girls and how important it is embed a gendered response in policy decisions.
The training she will provide will be the start of a real shift in how people who work with vulnerable women and girls react to the challenging behaviours they come up against, such as anger, risk-taking and self-harm. A wider range of practioners will learn about skills and exercises that can be incorporated into work with women in a variety of settings in order to make sure that women are coming out of prison less likely put themselves in damaging situations.
Taking forward the agenda
Over the coming weeks Works for Freedom will be hosting commentary and analysis on Stephanie Covington's visit by members of the Women at Risk Coalition. They will cover a range of issues, from the why the visit is so important and what the Coalition hopes to achieve, to what they plan to do to take forward this important agenda over the longer-term and how you can get involved.