Earlier this year The Wise Group hosted a fact-finding visit by the Scottish Parliament’s Criminal Justice Committee.
As part of their visit, we offered the opportunity for members to shadow our mentors to see how our world-class relational mentoring works in practice for our customers in the communities they live in.
Several Committee members expressed their interest in taking up this offer, and the first of these took place on Monday this week when Russell Findlay MSP (Conservative deputy convener of the committee) joined our mentor Terry Shields to spend a day in and around Glasgow.
The shadow day gave Russell the chance to see real customers in real situations being supported to deal with the myriad challenges they face daily.
We met with one customer who had fallen foul of the rules in his hostel and had been asked to leave due to an issue related to his addiction problems. Despite his anger at this situation, Terry worked with the customer to help calm them down and managed to ensure alternative accommodation was in place.
This moment did seem to starkly illustrate to Russell Findlay just how much the odds seem to be stacked against customers as we help them navigate the rocky path to a better life situation.
Terry also took Russell to a foodbank to collect and deliver food parcels for a couple of customers. This stressed just how severe the cost-of-living crisis is affecting those in our communities who are suffering most.
We caught up with Russell after his visit and he had this to say:
“I was very grateful to get the chance to join Terry for the day. There’s no doubt that the work being done by Terry and others at The Wise Group makes a big difference, and not just to those individuals being supported, but society as a whole which reaps the benefits.
Helping prisoners to get back on their feet and to find a productive role in society is admirable and invaluable, and not just in the financial sense.
The curse of poverty and poor mental health, which often leads to lives being destroyed by addiction, require the focus of all politicians and governments, local and national”.
A huge thanks to Terry for his time, dedication, and professionalism on this important exercise.