Shine’s journey through the pandemic highlighted the depths of digital poverty women experienced. Adding mobile phones to liberation packs during lockdown periods proved to be a real success. Shine recognised the importance of this and the connectivity to women, making it a priority for service delivery.
To sustain the provision of smart phones and connectivity, Shine applied for funding and was successful in being awarded £85,000. This funding came from the Digital Lifeline’s Fund, whose main objective is to provide digital technology with a vision to reducing drug related deaths. Shine is in the process of rolling out this funding to provide women with smart technology and connectivity, giving them access to more services, and empowering them to build their independence.
Training will be delivered to mentors to enable them to upskill the women they support. As part of the project, the Partnership Manager will be part of a Learning Community, sharing knowledge and resources with other partners to develop models of service delivery and produce recommendations to the Scottish Government.
A mentee’s voice: (How does your mentor support you now?)
"You feel at ease, there’s no judging, you don’t get judged and I think most agencies like Shine, the people that work there have some kind of life experience that connects on a different level."
Prisoner (Control of Release) (Scotland) Act 2015
This festive period, Shine made four Early Flexible Release requests. One was a great success, and the mentor was able to plan for the woman on day of release, with plenty of notice and time. The other three experienced some challenges and were granted early release at short notice. This required mentors to adapt their support plans ensuring they could take swift action to support the woman on her liberation date.
Following this period, the Partnership Manager spoke with all managers and mentors involved in the application process, before raising our concerns with Scottish Prison Service (SPS). Subsequently a SPS partnership meeting was held to discuss what the learning was, and how best to improve the process. Shine took part in the meeting and helped influence best practice for the control of flexible release.
Shine welcomes the introduction of the Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill, which is making its journey through Parliament, and is addressing the question of release from custody on a Friday and/or public holiday.
A mentor’s voice:
"Being a Shine mentor is not only a challenging role but a very rewarding role in helping mentees to achieve everyday goals and work towards a better future. The Shine Team are an amazing group of mentors and I've been lucky enough to call them my colleagues for six years, I hope we can continue to make a change in the community and to women's lives in the future."