COVID-19 – Prison and Community Update

How the team is continuing to provide support

Our Adult Services team has had to adapt quickly to the COVID-19 situation and lockdown measures.

The team are currently unable to get into HMP Grampian to work in our Creative Media Unit with prisoners. This has meant putting our new prison project on hold for now (watch this space for updates and announcements). We have however expanded our prison radio station and can now remote access the system in order to utilise it as a key communication tool for the prisoners.

Our 'Staying Connected' project received funding from The Big Lottery as an extension to our existing MAP (Media Access Project) prison project, which was due to come to an end March 2020. As part of this project, we have started sharing content with the prisoners from the NHS, Scottish Government and other sources to ensure they have up to date and accurate information.

We have been providing key SPS messages and updates to prisoners in a safe and collective way. We have been sharing content made in the community and working on ways to continue providing the prisoners with a voice and are currently piloting a system through the email-a-prisoner facility.

We have our request campaign up and running to allow messages from friends and family to be broadcast in the prison and are encouraging messages of support and positivity from those in the community or agencies who can no longer provide that direct support within the prison, ensuring the prisoners know they are not alone and that we are all in this together.

In the community, our Adult Services team are working hard to make sure all our participants are receiving the support and assistance they require during these difficult times.

Shmu provides a valuable lifeline to a number of our participants, not only in a support capacity, but also in terms of providing structure, inclusion and meaningful activity.

It was an extremely difficult decision for shmu to close our doors, but we were confident in our ability to continue engaging all of the people we support in our communities in a safe and positive way.

Since we began remote working, we have been in regular contact with participants - ensuring they are understanding the guidance provided and discussing their options and any issues they may face while isolating, including access to medication and shopping.

We are making plans with services and volunteers to support these participants if they are having to self-isolate or are in a vulnerable group and therefore can't leave the house.

We are providing as much emotional support as possible, trying to reassure and comfort. We are looking at routine, structure and meaningful activities they can participate in with shmu; trying to include them in our ongoing radio work by supporting them to produce recordings, jingles, positive messages.

This is difficult for those participants with limited access to technology and the internet, but look out for an exciting announcement about a new digital inclusion initiative soon.