Sussex Pathways Newsletter for March & April 2021
Welcome to our March and April edition. Here you will find a round-up of our months, including key updates on our work, feedback from people that we work with, and what to expect in the coming months.
· We would like to announce on behalf of Lucy our Project Manager for Pathways to Change – Lucy will be leaving us for a short time later in the year as she is pregnant. Massive congratulations to you and your family Lucy and welcome to the Pathways family little baby.
Some activity figures for the last 2 months-everyone has been very busy, a very big thank you to you all!
· We have received 23 referrals during March and April
· We have 21 active cases being worked with
· 2 gate meets
· 12 pre release client contacts
· 277 client contacts in the community
· 122 agency contacts
A big thank you to student Holly, who agreed at short notice to do a gate meet for a resident leaving HMP Lewes going to an out of area rehab. The request came from the prison, as there were concerns around his ability to make the journey independently due to his physical needs and anxiety he had regarding his release. Holly quickly stepped forward and was able to assist, providing the invaluable support of meeting at the gate, navigating their train journey and successfully getting to the placement on time.
The client is quoted to have said to Holly during their journey ‘if Sussex Pathways hadn’t met me, I know I would have re-offended as the journey itself would have been too stressful’. Our partners at the prison were also very appreciative of our assistance-
Lucy and Holly,
You are absolute stars, you really have gone above and beyond, thank you so very much.
And thank you for letting me know K arrived safely. J
Can’t thank-you enough Lucy and Holly, especially how quickly you responded to my request for help. The outcome could have been very different without your support.
Yes, let’s hope he continues to do well!
Oh My word what a star, well done Chelsea for organising and thank you thank you Sussex Pathways, I have always been impressed by how far you go to help the clients,
Thank you so much, amazing service over and above. Keeping fingers crossed for K.
Well done Holly and a big thank you from the team!
Pathways to Change
· Referrals for Pathways to Change have reached an all time high, with referrals coming from Prisons and Probation Officers far and wide for Residents coming back to Sussex, the team are working so hard during these in certain times to get support to all those that need it, this has also included a recent trip to London for one of our Students Holly, who at very short notice and never having met the Resident agreed to meet him at the gate, and escort him to London.
· Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East)
All of our face-to-face services are currently on hold due to the outbreak. Here’s how to get information and advice from us without leaving your home.
Self-help information from Citizens Advice – click here Call us on Adviceline: 0808 278 7969 (Monday to Friday, 9am-4.30pm) Chat to us via web chat, or use our email service – click here *Please note, there is high demand for our phone and digital services at the moment. Thank you for your understanding.
The information provided in our email was checked on the day we sent it to you but it may go out of date. There is further information that may be of help at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
· Thank you Andrew, for this link to the CAB,
Could you please refer your client via our referral link.
http://www.advicewestsussex.org.uk/referrers/ Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East)
· All Prisons are now working towards Level 3 and are approx two months behind the Community opening up, so we would hope that things will start to get back to normal in the Prison this Summer.
· Lewes are working with SP on a new Flowchart for RJ and how it will be delivered, so watch this space 😊
· This was sent to me by my friend Finlay Wood who works for SLAM and is a RJ Facilitator, it’s a good read –
The Restorative Circle.........
This plant has not flowered for quite some time. (Maybe 2 years??) On the new day of this new year I noticed this vibrant red bud squeezing through the sea of voluptuous greenness. One of the many gifts I received from 2020 was inspired by an exhibition at the Bethlem Gallery entitled - ‘the new fragile’. Life is, we are, I am, the environment is, finances are, the schools are, the kids are, the world is in - 'a new fragile'. I left 2020 deeply inspired. Actually when I look back both on what has been able to be achieved at work and how we have all had to live with restrictions, freedom, going out, staying home, being very fragile - I am grateful. New year, New fragile, same message. The Restorative Circle......... We feel invited, and maybe you may feel the invite too, into this ‘new fragile’. One which does need handling with Compassion - Appreciation - Respect - Engagement. (CARE). We feel invited, and maybe you may feel the invite too, into this ‘new fragile’. One which does need handling with Compassion - Appreciation - Respect - Engagement. (CARE). Vulnerability seems more authentic and a suitable remedy to live in and with this ‘new fragile’. The budding bud is blooming into something fragile but firm, grounded and held by the bounty of green, the soil, the light and the water from its lovers. Its beauty is shining through strong, firm and courageously. The story is unfolding. Wondering how your soil is doing, actually what might be your soil. Wonder what might be your green goodness in life and wonder if there is a connection the the fragility, this radiant, red fragility? We are committed to the same message of exploring, implementing and developing innovative ways to bring restorative work of all kinds into mental health. Be brave. Be fragile. Be love.
A Potted History, practice guidance and the celebration of restorative stories being told. We have had a fruitful start to the year exploring how to develop best practise guidance in partnership the the RJC (Restorative Justice Council) for the restorative work happening in mental health in the UK. We have partnered with the Bethlem gallery to share the work of Kintsugi that we mentioned last time. We have been invited to tell stories evidencing the health benefit of working restoratively. This newsletter serves to keep you updated on all developments, achievements and celebrations of the restorative work happening within The Restorative Circle @ SLAM. You are receiving this as you have in some way been connected to this story, or you are in the RJ Mental Health Network, or you just want to tell a different story when it comes to restorative approaches in mental health. There is opt out option below if you no longer want to receive the newsletter.
RJ in Forensic Mental Health Network
We are delighted to be part of a small team of practitioners and clinical staff steered by the RJC to begin exploring and developing best practice guidance for Restorative Justice in mental health settings. We do hope this will serve the wider mental health and general community in delivering, safe, effective restorative justice together where there is a diagnosis of mental health involved. RJC Connect Mental Health is a growing collaboration with the Restorative Justice Council to develop and promote best practice in restorative ways of working in mental health. Do click on the link and investigate. We hope to be launching a web resource that will go further to support the Network of Restorative Practitioners in Mental Health in this country and further afield. Watch this space!! Save the Date!!
July 6th, 1-5pm online, is our next annual gathering for the network. We hope our partners from around the globe may join in the conversation too!! Registration will be open soon. We shall let you know so you can register if you would like to attend. We continue to explore themes of Race and Culture in restorative practice in mental health and may focus more on this at this event and through out this year alongside what trauma informed restorative work in mental health might begin to look like. The Reflective Circle
We continue to reach out and hold this online space for family and carers each month. It is still meeting online with current restrictions in place. This does mean that not all can access it but we hope to deliver a face to face session as soon as this might be possible. We now have 21 members not all attend all the time but we can support them as they manage the impact of having a relative in hospital. We partnered with Kings College London to support a specific piece of research around violence perpetrated by adults with severe mental health conditions against their informal carers: A qualitative exploration of carers’ and service users’ perspectives. We hope that this may serve to support a deeper understanding of how to support carers and what might need to change in our service. Two carers have recently been invited to develop a recorded training session for the MSc students who are learning about working with family members in forensic services. We hope to share more learning from this in time. We have also been invited to share with a new service developed by colleagues offering family therapy where they want to explore restorative options when working with families. Interesting question really - when might it be family therapy and when might there be a restorative process?? The Kintsugi Course.
A Potted History - We proudly and gratefully share this video produced in collaboration with the wonderful Bethlem Gallery narrating their story which now includes the work of Kintsugi. We have bid for funds to delivery Kintsugi across the South London Partnership (SLP) which we mentioned previously. This will be for training local staff and peer workers to deliver the course with our support. We hope to share more about the next time!! (fingers crossed) We continue to hold the work of Kintsugi and hope for face face delivery in 2021 as soon as its safe to do so.
On the first Friday morning teaching slot of this new year, we were invited to the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience Friday morning teaching slot in collaboration with Kings College London where established medical staff and new and in training medical staff hear from the field stories and case studies that facilitate learning and exploring working in mental health. We were invited to share the story of a person who had taken part in a restorative meeting and was willing to be interviewed to talk about their experience. It highlighted a growing area of interest for us - making sure restorative justice and restorative practices can become part of all the academic courses in psychology and psychiatry so that it can be more widely used and promoted. We had lots of positive feedback from those who came and the storyteller found it healing and helpful to share their story too in this way to help others learn from what happened. Practice Update
We continue getting a steady stream of referrals that do not always go to a final meeting but we are able to have meaningful and transforming conversations for all involved. Still lots of work to be done for this part of our restorative work to grow. We notice it is still very hard for people to talk about the harm caused and navigate the complexities of mental health. We are committed and will continue to create opportunities and support curiosity wherever possible.
Thank You!! Thank you for reading and being part of developing this inspiring story. Do let us know your thoughts, comments or questions. Restorative regards and let the new fragile continue, The Restorative Circle team.
· Susie is the RJ Coordinator and point of contact for all RJ matters, and Rosanna is joining the RJ team.
· RJ Training on Zoom has gone so well that we are doing the next course online as well.
· 😊 Sussex Pathways are now very proud to announce that they have successfully completed and submitted their application to become ‘RJ Registered Accredited Trainers’ with the RJC under the name of ‘Insync Pathways’ and have had our 4 day course approved by the RJC also under the name of ‘Insync Pathways’ this is in loving memory to Mary Hinton and we will continue to deliver this training Honour and do it and Mary proud.
· A big thank you to Vee for Chairing our VSN on 6th May, which included The High Sheriff of West Sussex and Niko from STARR in East Sussex. What a great turn out we had !
Well done to everyone who attend the Easter VSN and make an Easter Bonnet, they were very inspiring. Alastair came first, Amanda came second and ended up eating her hat! Andrew came third, and everyone else came a joint fourth.
Rosanna is now busy planning a Summer VSN for Tuesday 13th July at 2pm, we are very much hoping that we will be able to get together and have a BBQ, we will keep you updated on this event, don’t forget to add it to your diary. Pathway to Sussex Pathways
We have had the honour of having four wonderful Social Work students with us since October 2020, and they have not only been doing clients, gate meets, Community work, they have helped George with the Clients Newsletter, and conducting research to help us with our work, amongst the various other things that we have thrown at them, including the London gate meet and escort. So a huge thank you to all of them and a big good luck when they leave us at the end of the month, to continue their Degree’s and future in Social Work.
Here is a snippet from each of them.
My name is Holly and I am a student Social Worker, studying a Master’s degree at the University of Sussex. I chose Sussex Pathways as my first placement, because I wanted to gain knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system.
During placement, I have worked with four clients, who came from a wide variety of backgrounds, with different strengths and abilities, whilst sharing similar challenges upon release, such as gaining access to resources and securing accommodation.
Most recently, I supported a client upon release to get to their rehab destination, which was based far away from their normal residence, as the client was very anxious about completing this task on their own. I realised how difficult this day can be for people who don’t have access to resources, which so many of us take for granted. This includes the use of a mobile phone, which can be used to plan the transport routes and times. We arrived safely at his destination and the client disclosed that they were appreciative of the support received, which prevented them from becoming overwhelmed and could have led to poor decision-making. This experience has shown me how gate meets can be a lifeline for some people, by providing practical support and being able to show someone they are not alone in their journey.
I hope to be able to use this experience in the future, to work on social policies and campaigns, which will promote equality and improve local resources.
My name is Vee and I am a second year social work student with the University of Sussex . I am currently completing my first practice placement with Sussex Pathways. I have been fortunate in this time of pandemic to find a placement with a nurturing culture and expertise in an area that is new to me. During my time with Sussex Pathways I worked on two cases assisting with the rehabilitation of residents from Lewis and Ford prison. My work involved planning for permanence and addressing issues surrounding housing, benefits and addiction, whilst working in successful partnership with statutory organisations such as probation.
I feel that my time as a VKW has contributed to my preparation to become a practising social worker.
I’m a first year Masters Social Work student and this is my first placement. Starting this placement was quite daunting at first, however as time has progressed and I have worked with more clients, it has proven to be an invaluable experience. I have really enjoyed working with my clients, and I have found meeting clients face to face extremely useful, not only for my learning, but for building relationships to better support them. I have helped one client look for new accommodation at the library which was a really positive meeting. I also regularly support another client over the phone, for example helping them access food and heating vouchers. I have gained a greater understanding of the barriers that people leaving prison may face, such as not having a smart phone with internet access, which is needed for so many things, like booking appointments or filling out online forms. I have also seen the impact of having limited financial resources and a lack of support systems. I have seen how vital the work Sussex Pathways does, through signposting clients to access support and being part of the support system around them.
Hi, I am Nick, and I am a social work student, currently on my first year of an MA in Social Work at the University of Sussex. I have been exceptionally lucky to have been on my first placement with Sussex Pathways; it has been an insightful experience of the criminal justice system and its current and former residents. The staff, trustees and volunteers at Sussex Pathways have all been incredibly supportive of my learning, in particular my practice supervisor Nigel, who I have had the pleasure of many a long phone call with, providing plenty for me to reflect upon. I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with six clients whilst on placement, each of them with their own unique strengths and needs, which have required different responses and have involved working with a range of service providers across East and West Sussex. In my current cases I have worked with local authority housing, Change, Grow, Live, homeless outreach services, Job Centre, the list could go on and on. Most recently, two of my clients have been able to secure long term housing and are looking forward to what their future holds with a sense of hope and optimism.
As I come to the end of my placement, I feel the time I have spent with Sussex Pathways has provided an invaluable experience that has improved my knowledge of the residents and ex-residents of the prison system and contributed towards my growth as a social worker.
Stay safe from all at Sussex Pathways.