Country: The Netherlands
TG: mental health problems + ex-offenders + homeless + drug users
Activity: low-threshold + integrated services

De Stadsbrug

“We are unique because we offer a lot of different options that are not offered elsewhere for this group of people. We treat our participants as equals and take them seriously, we do not focus on problems but on potential. By making our participants contribute we solve a big societal problem. And last but not least, we do it all with a positive attitude and have fun doing the things we do.”

The organisation

At the Stadsbrug various small social firms are housed under one roof, offering work and learning places to people with great distance to the regular labour market. This includes people who are or have a history with addiction, homelessness, mental illness, judicial contacts and all the problems related thereto, like debts, loneliness etc. There are many small firms; some of them are run by a professional and others are run by the participants themselves (consumer run), so the participants have great responsibility for the success of the business. All the different firms work together and make use of each others skills. In this way they create a lot of synergy. All the delivered work is for external customers so it is taken seriously and the quality of the products and services is high.

At the Stadsbrug people learn lots of different work skills. Buro Dagloon offers work in the community like cleaning and park work. The bicycle repair shop repairs and sells bicycles for consumers and businesses. The Speedservice courier service delivers packages and works for all the other projects, like picking up bikes for customers, doing groceries etc. Utrecht Underground are city tours given by former homeless guides to inform people about the history of Utrecht as a hotspot for the homeless. FietsieFoetsie is a workshop where former bike thieves give education about bicycle theft and prevention. They offer lot of different jobs like being a bicycle maker, painter, doing administration, hairdresser, driver, cleaner, adviser, web-designer, photographer, cook, salesman and a lot more. People can work here from 1 to 5 days a week. Accomplishments are based on what they need and what their capacities are. At the time of wiriting there were about 60 participants on the job every day. Since they started four years ago, the number of participants has increased.

De Stadsbrug is run by three different organizations. Altrecht, which is an organisation in mental health, GIDS an organisation specialized in reintegration and SBWU which offers sheltered housing. The project is funded by government, health insurance, funds and commercial revenue (about 30%). They try to be as independent from community money as possible. Therefore, they continuously develop partnerships with other social organizations and commercial businesses.

Results

All in all, the key results of De Stadsbrug are that they offer people serious and significant jobs, which give people future perspectives. De Stadsbrug supports people on their way to regular employment.

Depending on the job they are doing, participants can develop different skills, but one of the main features of all projects is to give people a lot of responsibility for their task. So besides specific work skills the participants also learn about leadership, running a business, working together and being independent. Sometimes participants move on to regular employment. De Stadsbrug works together with independent companies, and that has proven to be a good way to introduce people to regular jobs. About 10% moves on to regular jobs and 10% drops out. The other 80% stays with De Stadsbrug for a long time, sometimes they move on to a different position within De Stadsbrug. Sometimes they drop out for a while because they have to go to jail or rehab, but most of the time they come back. De Stadsbrug offers participants serious jobs, gives them responsibility, gives them trust, challenges them, and takes their opinions and ideas about what should happen very seriously.

More information

Website: www.destadsbrug.nl

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Country: Portugal
TG:
drug users, (ex) offenders
Activity:
peer involvement, training

InPAR

“Through the collection and systematisation of data, our process and outcome results proved the efficacy of peer workers. This was used in our advocacy for their recognition and for building relationships of trust between organisations/teams and peers.”

Organization

InPAR was a two-year project run by the Portuguese NGO APDES, from August 2009 until July 2011. InPAR was an experimental project at national level in the area of professional and social reintegration aimed at unemployed people who use drugs, but motivated to work. The project was worked on in close cooperation with harm reduction interventions. It was anchored in action-research principles, with participative methodologies playing a crucial role in the process of implementation and evaluation of the project. The project was implemented in the north of Portugal and studied/developed a reintegration methodology in socio-professional responses for people who use drugs, namely through peer work. The overall aim was to highlight the facilitating factors and obstacles in this process of integration and identifying good practices/recommendations for future projects. Regarding the integration of drug users as peer workers the objectives were the following: Integrate 8 drug users in outreach teams and facilitate their bio-psycho-social stabilisation; Offer training and follow up for these persons as peer workers; Facilitate conditions for the integration of peer educators into the outreach teams, as well as into their supporting organisations; Develop a professional and social reintegration methodology, identifying facilitating factors and obstacles for the integration of drug users as peer workers; Contribute to the recognition of the profession of peer worker.

This project was the starting point of two other projects, namely:

1) PREVIH, integration of Sex Workers as Peer Educators in Harm Reduction Projects. APDES is responsible for the training of the sex workers, implementation and adaptation of the peer educator’s integration model on sex work intervention (together with Porto University);

2) Vanguarda, a prevention Project in a Prison, aimed to train and develop a peer education methodology inside a prison.

Results

The main conclusions achieved by InPAR are brought together in the manual "O Trabalho primeiro" [Working First - Manual for Employability of Drug Users and Recommendations for Integration through Peer Education]. This manual was published in June 2012 and since then 300 copies have been disseminated through the project partners, national outreach teams, universities and professional training resource centres.

The main results showed a relevant change of the situation in Portugal: 4 peers integrated with formal contract with the organisation after the project end, and 2 peers were doing voluntary work (10 Peers were followed throughout the project); increased recognition of the peer workers' contributions to Outreach Teams; Policy impact suggested by the firm commitment from the public funder to study/adopt criteria for applications evaluation where the inclusion of a Peer Worker in the outreach team can be valued; Creation of a methodology for promoting the employability of drug users, particularly in Peer Work, through identification of key factors (obstacles and facilitators) for integration.

The model developed by InPAR was implemented in a project held in the prison context, with prisoners as peer educators, and in a project involving outreach teams that intervene in the sex work area, with sex workers as peer workers. Also, the model lends itself for further distribution in other countries and/or settings, for instance by using the previously mentioned manual as a training tool.

More information

Website: http://www.apdes.pt/en/project_inpar.php or http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index52035EN.html?project_id=01PT10&tab=overview

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Country: Finland
Tg: (ex) offenders
Activity: gardening/agriculture, integrated services, environmentally friendly

Roots to Freedom

The organisation

“Roots to freedom” is a nature based rehabilitation project for adult inmates in Kerava Prison in Finland in which garden and nature-based activities are offered both in open and closed prison. The aim is to create a wholesome nature-based rehabilitation-model, where an invididual path is created from the prison to civil life. They offer after-care once the sentence is over. They are also doing an evaluation of the method and its effects on prisoners. The project runs under the authority of Criminal Sanctions Agency in co-operation with Kriminaalihuollon tukisäätiö (NGO), a non profit aftercare foundation (for released prisoners and their families). It has been running since March 2013, and is expected to end in December 2014, based on funding from the European Social Fund.

Kerava prison has many different work-places, but in this project the prisoner works on nature based activities (in the garden, with animals, doing farm-work, working on natural parks doing developmental work, etc..) or construction work around Kerava prison. The prisoners take part in rehabilitating group-sessions that are based on Green Care activities and every prisoner has one-on-one sessions, in order to develop individual plans for after prison life.

The overall aim of the project is to create a wholesome rehabilitation model in Kerava prison, that includes group sessions, professional work/ education and personalised casework that continues after the prison sentence is over. The ideology is nature-based activities and nature-based thinking.

Results

They have had 45 inmates taking part so far, and it seems that the numbers are only increasing.
The key results of the project are the enabling of re-integration back to society through training of self-reflection and self-understanding, as well as a possibility to start over in life through education or work while in prison and to continue that path after prison.


All participants acquire an ecological way of thinking, and they gain responsibility, social skills, not losing one´s temper so quickly, respecting others and yourself and nature/society, horticultural skills, looking after weaker creatures (such as animals and flowers), etc. They develop those skills with the goal of moving on to regular paid employment. At the time of writing they did not yet have any numbers regarding paid employment because only few prisoners had been released so far. One of the ex-detainees continued studying in civil life.

In the beginning it was quite challenging to motivate prison staff to be active in the project, also creating something completely new inside a very strict prison-system, where safety is always priority number one, but they managed to do so successfully. So far they have had extremely good results considering that the project is only in the beginning. Nature-based activities were reported to activate inmates, give opportunities to strengthen self-efficacy by using former knowledge and skills and learning new ones, and to increase confidence in coping after discharge. Group activities contributed to the social interaction among inmates, and between inmates and staff. Through positive feedback from others, inmates identified favourable characteristics in themselves, which encouraged mutual relationships. Nature-based activities proved to be a means to execute on-site activities supporting rehabilitation by creating affordances of everyday life in a restricted environment.

To make their activities more sustainable, they have permanent prison staff members on the team, so once the project workers leave the permanent staff can continue the good work. Also they have been able to liaise with local professional educational schools that are willing to co-operate with Kerava prison even after the project is finished.

More information

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/juuretvapauteen/

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Country: United Kingdom
TG:
drug users, homeless, (ex) offenders
Activities: peer involvement, training

Addiction Worker Training Programme

“Trainees provide an inspirational role to service users, showing them what can be achieved if they persevere in recovery, which is particularly helpful for those struggling to engage, who feel the cultural gap between professional services and their own lifestyles. Trainees can often provide critical words of encouragement which are listened to because of their own background, or help to diffuse problems by reassuring service users who might have barriers to talking to staff.”

Organization

The Addiction worker Training Project is managed and co-ordinated by the Scottish Drugs Forum. SDF is a voluntary, membership based organisation with nearly 300 organisational and individual members across Scotland. SDF primarily focuses on improving the quality, range and effectiveness of service and policy responses to problematic drug use in Scotland, reducing future and recurring problematic drug use and promoting and sustaining recovery from drug problems.

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Addiction Worker Training Programme (AWTP) is a unique, multi-agency funded initiative which trains, and prepares individuals with a history of problematic drug and alcohol use to work in social care whilst receiving an intensive package of support. The project was launched in 2004 to help former substance users prepare for employment through in-work placements and formal learning. Scottish Drugs Forum works in partnership with accredited learning providers and alongside frontline services to provide training for students who include former homeless people and ex-offenders who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment. Course participants must be two years drug free, including substitute prescribing and two years problem drinking free.

Trainees are supported to complete two full time six month work placements with partner organisations, complete an industry standard qualification, and have access to a variety of training and workshop opportunities related to issues in the care field. Trainees are supported to be involved in the day to day duties that placement staff carry out, and attend placements three to four days per week, with a day for study or learning. Placements are accessed in social care projects with a key focus on addictions. Project partners offer trainees invaluable work experience in residential, community, and outreach based projects with a range of service users, and offer additional training to supplement that provided by SDF. Initially, trainees shadow other members of staff, building relationships with colleagues and service users, and learning about the project policies and procedures. In subsequent weeks and months, trainees are supervised to participate in the tasks of support workers. Tasks include, but are not limited to: working with service users, liaising with other agencies, carrying out assessments, key-working, group work, accompanying service users on journeys, accessing and updating client files and records and community outreach.

Results

SDF currently has 14 Trainee Addiction Workers on the 2013-14 course in Glasgow, and 8 Trainee Addiction Workers in the East of Scotland. Since 2004, the lowest number of trainees has been 11, with the highest number reaching 22.

Nearly 90% of those who start the course complete, with 85% of those completing moving in to further employment, the vast majority to full time jobs in the Social Care and Addiction fields. The AWTP provides a resource of motivated and highly trained staff for the care sector, and an opportunity for people with direct experience of services to inform practice as project participants and ultimately as staff members. Overall, the project has resulted in more people previously outside the labour market are employed as trainee addiction workers (127 people since 2004), more people who have recovered from substance misuse have improved their employability skills and achieved an industry standard qualification (114 people since 2004), and more people who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment related to their past substance misuse have moved in to further employment post project completion (97 people since 2004).

AWTP has a direct impact on trainees and their families, however wider beneficiaries include placement agencies and their service users. Through their placement experience, one trainee can support and provide interventions to up to 85 people experiencing problems with substance use over the duration of the course.

More information

Website: http://www.sdf.org.uk/moving-on/addiction-workers-training-project-awtp/

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Country: Czech Republic
TG:
(ex) offenders, people with mental health problems
Activities: commercial, integrated services, product sales

Semitam s.r.o.

“We offer the opportunity to learn the value of work and be proud of it. This means living a life where you can care for yourself through an honest wage.”


The Organisation

Semitam offers work as a cleaner or serving, bookbinding or in a sewing workshop, in the Czech Republic. The project is for people with disabilities, for people returning from prison and youth at risk of social pathologies and returning frominpatient treatment.

Semitam was founded in October 2011. In the beginning there were four people in the project, but at the time of writing (2014) the WIP had 16 participants.

The essence is to offer work to people who have great difficulty finding a job without the support from Semitam. People released from prison or youth with pathological tendencies without any previous work experience are offered the opportunity to earn a living through work. For people with physical disabilities the opportunity to work again is to be useful and to take part in the community.

The project is financed by Semitam's ownearnings, supported by theBureau of Labour from April 2012, as well as European funds and the state budget. The latter's funding (for the project Social Business – The Path to Responsibility and Solidarity) will be finished in March 2014.

Results

Semitam has created and maintained a social business as a separate and independent economic entity. They offer jobs and psychosocial support to people with social or physical disabilities and they offer quality cleaning services or original handmade products. In the meantime, employees develop communication skills, learn teamwork, self-reliance and responsibility. While stimulating skill development Semitam tries to make some of their participants - especially those returning from prison – move on to other more permanent employment. Over the years, the company has managed to reintegrate a few participants, who found another job and housing.

Semitam's staff supports and motivates participants through regular contacts, both in groups and individual. Twice a year the whole team meets at a common event, such as a Christmas party. The company also employs a psychologist who is always available for all participants. All in all Semitam offers comprehensive care to people with criminal records.

More information

Website: www.semitam.cz

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