Circle and Addictions Support and Counselling held a successful Parliamentary Reception celebrating the work achieved by their Women’s Outreach Team in Lanarkshire. We were delighted that the event was sponsored by MSPs Ben Macpherson and Christina McKelvie and amazing speakers were in attendance including Karyn McCluskey (CEO Community Justice Scotland), Bruce Adamson (Commissioner for Children and Young People) and Dr Briege Nugent (Researcher). Sarah Jane, a parent who has been supported by the Women’s Outreach Team, shared her inspirational experience of how she, her husband and children are moving forward with optimism for their future! What came across so powerfully when Sarah Jane spoke was the value of respect in the relationship between her and her worker Jan. Respect, trust, treating her as a woman and a mother, not simply someone to be judged on her involvement with the criminal justice world, was integral to a meaningful relationship being developed.

The evening provided an opportunity to hear from Dr Briege Nugent on the key findings from the research to date, including the stories so far of the women, children and families that the Women’s Outreach Team work with. Dr Briege Nugent spoke to the interim economic analysis undertaken by Economist Karen Hancock (who unfortunately was unable to attend on the evening). The analysis evidenced the massive fiscal, economic and societal benefit that this Alternatives to Custody service can provide.

On the evening we were extremely proud to premier our amazing animation video. The short animation features the voices of children and young people supported by our Women’s Outreach Team, and highlights the need to listen to our children and young people. Massive thanks to all who contributed and thanks to Rosie at Third Sector Lab who developed the video! Watch the animation at:

The evening was hugely successful and we want to thank all those who contributed whether by taking part in the event or by your presence on the evening. We look forward with hope and positive belief in the knowledge and understanding that this approach to supporting women and their families in the community is what can and does work.