From the Pandemic
Over the past year, Shine has adapted and thrived, in spite of the challenges that the pandemic has thrown us. There have been lessons learned and adaptions to service delivery, allowing mentors to manage their time more effectively and provide support to more women in need. The provision of additional digital resources has helped those women who previously did not engage with Shine, making them feel that the service is more accessible. Throughout the adaptions and changes in guidance, Shine has been able to maintain its reputation of delivering a high-quality service and continuing to achieve positive outcomes for women.
Shine has introduced a Hybrid Working Model after considering the lessons learnt and changes to practice that came from the pandemic. This Model allows mentors to work more flexibly, with a combination of face-to-face and remote support available, depending on the needs of the women. We learnt that by offering remote support as part of a package, women felt empowered to take more action for themselves. This increased their feelings of self-worth and independence.
Gate pick-ups were stopped and replaced by liberation packs during the pandemic, based on public health and Scottish Government guidance. This was a significant blow to the service as gate pick-ups have always played a key role in supporting vulnerable women. However, what we learnt during the pandemic was that by having a mentor available at the end of a woman’s phone, this was empowering, and enabled many women to make the journey home themselves. This was a significant outcome for women; they had to overcome feelings of anxiety to make the journey on their own and once they did, with the support from their mentor on the phone, many women reported feeling a huge sense of achievement. Many of Shine’s women reported increased self-esteem and feelings of independence during the pandemic, when they couldn’t meet with their mentor face-to-face to be supported to attend appointments. The use of virtual technology has been a positive addition to service delivery. Shine is in discussions with Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to utilise video conferencing with women in custody, in order to strengthen working relationships prior to release.
Here's what one of our partner’s – Circle - recently said about Shine during the pandemic:
“I think probably over the last couple of years … (there) has been a real ability to be flexible and to adapt to change, to be able to navigate a really difficult set of circumstances, in not being able to see people face to face.
"Our work is based on relationships and that tends to go hand in hand with actually seeing people and spending time with people, and we weren't able to do that which is hard for everyone, whether professionally or personally. But we have seen a real willingness from across the partnership to be able to try and to be flexible, to adapt, to be creative in how they could continue to work with women and ensure that actually they were still provided with key support. We’ve seen that with liberation packs, mobile phones, all those things and there’s been learning and things we were able to take forward. The whole influenced and informed how we continue to work with the woman, so I think it's been the strength and knowledge and expertise and a real sense of being able to adapt and change in difficult circumstances.”