Glenn St John-Colgan joins Wise Group Board.
Malcolm joined our New Routes programme during his second short term custodial sentence. With the support of his mentor, Davy, he is learning new skills to help him find work and build a stable home for his young family.
Before Malcolm’s first sentence, he was working as a driver with a removal company. Now, following two periods in jail, the strain of losing the security of paid work, the ongoing search for accommodation and mental health issues has put a strain on Malcolm’s family relationships. Mentor support from Davy has helped Malcolm to seek the support he needs to help him manage his anxiety and together, they are working with housing services to secure suitable accommodation.
Davy’s support came as Malcolm was about to leave prison for a second time. The first time Malcolm had been in jail, he left with no external support. A short time later he found himself returning to custody. Malcolm said:
“It’s very easy to start re-offending when you get out and you’ve got no one to turn to and no one to give you a bit of guidance.
“If you can’t get out and help yourself find a job it’s easy to go back to doing what you were doing before and that’s what initially put you in prison.”
It’s a familiar story. A short sentence with a daily routine, a bed and food. On the outside, a chaotic life, mental health, family or addiction issues.
He added, “If you get out with nothing to get out to, a lot of people just fall between the cracks without having somebody to give them a bit of encouragement”.
New Routes is an established mentoring service, delivered in partnership and led by the Wise Group. Each year, our New Routes mentors support 700 young male offenders across Scotland.
Building trust and empowering people is what our mentoring services do, and do well. Our mentors – half of whom have lived experience of the justice system – have helped over 3,000 people to overcome issues such as homelessness, mental health challenges, addictions, and financial hardship. They build relationships with our customers and their families too, often engaging with the family to support the person. At the end of their journey with a New Routes mentor, 36% of customers say their interpersonal and family relationships improved as result of working with a mentor.
It’s early days for Malcolm, but he’s already working with our Skills team to earn his CSCS card with a plan to find work back in the construction sector, and support his young family. He adds:
“I just want to get it right for my girls. I’m looking forward to making up for lost time with them.”