Allan McGinley a mentor with the Wise Group community justice service for the last ten years has been presented with a prestigious Butler Trust Commendation by the Butler Trust’s Patron, HRH the Princess Royal.
The Butler Trust Annual Awards, now in their 31st year, recognise outstanding contributions by people working in prisons, probation and youth justice across the UK. This year’s Award Ceremony, presided over by the Princess Royal, was held at St James’s Palace in London, on 10 March.
The Wise Group set up the New Routes project to support young men in prisons throughout Scotland on release from short term sentences to reduce their re-offending behaviours. It Is funded through the Scottish government, the Scottish Prison Service and Robertson Trust It works with around 1000 young men a year.
Allan’s background had been challenging. He had experienced every aspect of the criminal justice system including custody several times and had issues with drugs and alcohol. Allan’s own remarkable journey of recovery has given him a wealth of knowledge and understanding to motivate individuals, even when they feel like relapsing or meet other difficulties.
He offers emotional support and is an advocate for individuals who lack self-esteem or communication skills to engage with the agencies that they need. He has worked with over 500 individuals to make the transition from prison and then to transform their lives and circumstances
Allan said “For the first time in over 20 years I was in paid employment with an organisation who clearly believed that I could use the negative experiences from my life for a positive purpose: to help and encourage others to realise that life ‘didn’t have to be this way’ and to aspire towards the change that lies in all of us.”
Laurie Russell, Chief Executive of the Wise Group explained, ‘His commitment and passion for working with people in and out of custody is demonstrated by the fantastic results he has achieved by getting other people to transform their lives. Allan ensures his customers understand that not only is change possible, but everyone can change their lives regardless of their personal challenges. He has become an inspirational role model to his customers and colleagues, particularly those new to this type of work.’