Looking after your mental health while self isolating

Looking after your mental health while self isolating

You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include having to stay at home and avoid other people. This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing.  Mind, the mental health charity has updated their guide to coping with the added stress of having to self-isolate and follow social distancing. It features a range of advice – much of which applies to us all, but with specific additional advice for those who suffer from anxiety or depression. As ever, Yellow Ribbon keyworkers and counsellors are ready to help and support our clients and although subject to some new challenges in how we do this, are always there if help is needed. 1+

Closed… But open

Closed… But open

Due to the recent change in guidelines from the government around Coronavirus, Meeting Point House where our main office is located is closed. Yellow Ribbon is however still continuing to accept referrals, Currently we ask that referrals and information requests are sent to us via email ( info@yellow-ribbon.org ) or using the contact form from the front page of the site. We have put into place a series of contingency plans to ensure that ensure that we continue providing ongoing support to our clients with all of our usual services, and additionally are ready to assist those who may need to self-isolate within the client-houses. All normally office based administration work continues as usual via the remote-working systems we have already put in place, and the team remain in close contact via video-link, voice comms and secure messaging technology. We shall be extending the roll-out of video-link technology to all of our client houses in the next few days, which will allow us to conduct our usual house meetings and service user support in as close to our usual way as possible. Most of the usual ancillary support services such as support from the local food banks remain in place, […]

Early Release From Prison

Early Release From Prison

Inmates could be freed to ease virus pressure on jails BBC news is reporting that “The government is considering releasing some offenders from prisons in England and Wales to ease pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” BBC News – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52029581 And goes on to say : Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the virus poses an “acute” risk in prisons, many of which are overcrowded. Some 3,500 prison staff – about 10% of the workforce – were off work on Tuesday because they were ill or self-isolating, a committee of MPs was told. Mr Buckland said releasing some inmates could help to “alleviate” pressures. The justice secretary told the Commons justice committee he was “keen” to make use of release on temporary licence – where prisoners are let out for short periods, after a risk assessment. BBC News – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52029581 Yellow Ribbon will be working closely with resettlement teams and the probation service to assist with finding accommodation and support for as many new client releases as we can. 0

Prisons in England and Wales on ‘immediate lockdown’

Prisons in England and Wales on ‘immediate lockdown’

ITV news reports that Prisons in England and Wales on ‘immediate lockdown’ following latest coronavirus measures. The report comments : “Prisons in England and Wales have been put on “immediate lockdown” with all visits cancelled. The Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service said the measure was to “ensure the safe and secure functioning of our prisons, while enforcing social distancing.” It follows the Government’s strengthening of stay-at-home measures, announced in an address to the nation by the Prime Minister on Monday night. HMP Birmingham, HMP High Down, HMP Manchester, and HMP Oakwood all have one confirmed case of coronavirus.” ITV News Both HMP Birmingham and HMP Oakwood are two of frequently visited prisons as part of our chaplaincy and through-the-gate schemes. It present it is unclear exactly what the full implications of this will be, but we at Yellow Ribbon have a series of contingency plans ready to put into place to ensure we continue to support those still in prison, those being released, and the clients we have in our community based houses – in whatever way we can which meets the current government guidelines. 1+

Working closer with TACT

Working closer with TACT

We have some exciting news about a new project working with our Partners at TACT in Wellington. We will be converting an old garage into an workshop and facilities room and operate all of our projects from there. We are excited to be working closer with TACT as we are both in the business to aid our service users in there recovery and can lean on each other to do just that. Telford After Care Team (TACT) C.I.C. was founded in 2012 by Robert Eyers who himself endured 20 years of addiction. During his recovery Rob became aware of the lack of support available for service users in Telford like himself.  Rob set up TACT initially on a voluntary basis with a small amount of funding to help run a SMART Recovery Group and a Gardening Group. This provided people in recovery an option to do something new and prevent them from returning to their old lives. The main aim of TACT is to assist people in recovery from using drugs or alcohol. This is achieved by improving the health and welbeing of its service users; empowering people to lead productive and fulfilling lives so that they can once again be valued members […]

Keep Calm – and wash your hands!

Keep Calm – and wash your hands!

Today Inside Time – the magazine for prisoners and their families reports that at present prisons will stick with normal regimes as long as possible. Inside Time published an article today which comments : “Jails will stick with normal regimes and visits “for as long as possible” in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, the Government has said. Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer QC MP said there was “a huge amount of work taking place” to plan for the impact of COVID-19. She said the top priority was the safety and wellbeing of staff, prisoners and visitors. The attempt to carry on as normal comes despite fears that prisons will be badly hit by the disease. Andrea Albutt, president of the Prison Governors’ Association, said it was likely that some prisoners would die.” Inside Time – https://insidetime.org/coronavirus-prisons-try-to-maintain-regimes/ The article goes on to quote a statement made by Lucy Frazer MP on March 12th : ” Prisons have existing, well-developed policies and procedures in place to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases. This means prisons are well prepared to take immediate action whenever cases or suspected cases are identified, including isolating individuals where necessary. Basic hygiene is a key part of tackling the […]

Gov.UK launches new ‘Life Chances’ blog.

Gov.UK launches new ‘Life Chances’ blog.

Going Forward into Employment (GFiE) is a government wide scheme aimed at providing life chances people through the provision of opportunities in the civil service. A new gov.uk based blog site has started today, dedicated to increasing both awareness of the problems faced by ex-offenders upon release, and to help some of them into employment through civil service posts. The site gives a stark insight into just how few people go on to find employment : “Imagine leaving prison, determined to get a job and support yourself and your family, only to find that almost every job application asks about your criminal record. You keep applying, but you keep getting rejected – if you hear back at all. This is the all too familiar story of the 70,000 people released from prison every year. Just 17% of them are in PAYE employment after 12 months.” GFiE blog – https://gfie.blog.gov.uk/ And the site goes on to say : “It’s not easy for employers to make changes either, which is why it’s so important that the public sector sets a good example. The Going Forward into Employment scheme improves life chances for people leaving prison, as well as veterans and their spouses, […]

No longer an “offender”

No longer an “offender”

Inside Time the prison magazine today reports that people on probation are no longer to be called “offenders” In an article posted today on the Inside Time website, it is reported that : “Probation chiefs said they wanted to “reset the language” and use a term that would “resonate” with those under supervision. Instead of being known as an offender, anyone under supervision will be referred to as a “person subject to probation services”. The change reflects the fact that people on probation are expected to have stopped committing crimes. It will affect ex-prisoners on licence and people given community sentences for low-level crimes.” Inside Time – https://insidetime.org/former-prisoners-no-longer-offenders/ We at Yellow Ribbon will certainly welcome this shift in attitude, because we firmly believe that labelling someone as on offender is unfair, and does little to help them move forward in their life. We are committed to helping those who are ready to turn their life around, and the first step in that process is leaving behind the personal perception of criminality, to view yourself not as who you were – but who you want to be now. 0

Cafe re-opening

Cafe re-opening

Despite the very uncertain future of the Riverside Shopping Centre, it was decided to give the cafe a facelift and a new lease of life while the centre remains open. A number of the client-volunteers were involved in the redecoration project, which involved a range of skill-areas including carpentry, plastering, painting, wallpapering and basic electrical installations. A number of the clients now work in the cafe which sells barista-made coffees and other hot drinks, light meals, cakes and a variety of home-produced products. Several new clients have recently earned their Basic Food Hygiene certificates, allowing them to work in the food preparation areas. 0