New Routes Mentoring

Family situation:

Person 'A' is a looked-after child, having been in the care system since birth. He was placed successfully with a foster family for approximately five years, however, this relationship broke down prior to his prison sentence and he is no longer in contact with the family.

Background:

Having been a looked-after child and moving between various care homes, residential units and foster placements, 'Person A' achieved a level of stability in his early teens where he was living with a foster family for approximately five years. Most of this time was successful and he attended a local high school and gained various qualifications. However, also during this period he started to socialise with peers with negative attitudes and started consuming alcohol, taking various drugs and smoking. This resulted in various involvement with the local police and him being convicted for different types of anti-social and violent behaviours.

Challenge working towards (i.e. mental health, addictions, employment etc.):

As a 19-year-old, 'Person A' has never had to fend for himself and has always relied on people he was in the care of to look after him. As a result, he had no idea how to cook, clean, maintain a property, pay bills and various other everyday tasks. This was highlighted during meetings with his mentor whilst 'Person A' was in HM YOI Polmont. 'Person A' and his mentor worked together to help him see what he would need to do to be able to survive and thrive upon his release into the community.

'Person A' served a 12-month sentence and he would be homeless upon release with no family to support him.

'Person A' has no history of employment and was keen to do whatever he could in order to secure a job upon his release as he was aware that he did not want to have to survive on benefits.

'Person A' would have no income initially upon release.

Services engaged with:

'Person A' sought out the help and support of the New Routes Service whilst in prison. He engaged extremely well within prison especially with the Education Team. 'Person A' was very aware of the barriers that he would face and was keen to get as much support put in place as he could.

'Person A' also engaged with the Young Peoples Team Social Workers as he was aware that they would be able to help him out in a variety of ways. 'Person A' was aware that by working with social work, they could assist him in securing a suitable flat upon his liberation.

'Person A' also engaged with the Job Centre prior to his liberation and was set up with an appointment for the day of his release.

What 'person A' did:

'Person A' sought out support from within the prison and upon his release has been proactive in trying to improve his situation.

Whilst in prison, he completed the training for his CSCS card and passed the subsequent test. This will assist in his search for employment. 'Person A' also completed the TIGERS course in HM YOI Polmont, which is a life skills course designed to give the young people some tools and techniques about dealing with life in the community.

What the mentor did:

The mentor met with 'Person A' three times in HM YOI Polmont before release and worked with him to devise a plan to help him to meet the goals that were identified through the PRP process. The mentor liaised with the Young People Team SW over issues such as housing and finance and an agreement was reached over what support would be offered to 'person A'.

The gate pick up service was offered to 'Person A', who accepted this gratefully, knowing that he would struggle to find his way back to where he needed to be.

The mentor also liaised with housing services over the accommodation that was being offered to 'Person A' and a time was arranged for the book in to take place.

On the day of his release, the mentor ensured that 'Person A' booked into his temporary accommodation, helped him to set up his Universal Credit claim, collected funds from social work to buy good for his accommodation, supported 'Person A' to spend the money provided by social work, and supported him to attend a local food bank.

'Person A’s support is on-ongoing and regular meetings take place. He engages well at all meetings and continues to use the support that is available to him.

What support services did?

Support services have helped 'Person A' with finding him suitable accommodation, have ensured that he has an income in the form of Universal Credit, and as he is now engaging with Skills Development Scotland, 'Person A' is hopeful of gaining employment soon.

What was the Outcome?

'Person A' is maintaining a temporary tenancy, has learnt to cook his own meals, is budgeting his money well and is actively seeking employment to better his life. He no longer abuses drugs and alcohol as he is aware that the effects on his behaviour when he is under the influence are negative.

Summary:

'Person A' is a young adult who having had a difficult upbringing, is now keen to better his own life in whatever way that he can. He has had to grow up since leaving prison and has used whatever supports are available to him. It’s been important for 'Person A' to become independent and he is on his way to achieving this. However, without the supports that have been in place for him, it might have been a different story. Being given a stable base, has allowed 'Person A' to learn independent living skills, survive on his own and be resourceful with what he has. His engagement level has been extremely high as he is motivated to change his life.

As 'Person A’s mentor, it has been important to spend time with him to help him to learn how to function well on his own. Flexibility from the mentor has been essential as 'Person A’s needs have been quite individual and some of the work that we have done has been very practical in nature. For example, there have been cooking lessons, where recipes and meal planning have been the focus of our meetings as his skills were minimal. 'Person A' has also required support in learning how to do basic tasks, such as topping up the gas and electric meters in his property, having never had to do this before.

There are a multitude of barriers that young people leaving prison face, however this is an example of how working together, being flexible and having a positive attitude can be crucial in the success of the young person.

'Person A's story is an example of partnership working between SPS services, Social Work, Housing, Job Centre and New Routes. By working together, 'Person A' has been able to transition smoothly into the community and settle in the community. As a mentor, working with 'Person A' has been inspiring as he has not allowed his past to hold him back. Instead he is using it as a motivational factor to better himself. His engagement has been very high, and he actively seeks out positive things that he can do with himself. However, without the supports that were in place for him, 'Person A's journey so far, may have been very different.