April - June 2017

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Family Day

The Beacon has recently had a family day which was an opportunity for friends and family to visit their loved ones and also meet the staff involved in the treatment programme.

The event was held in HMP Garth chapel in the afternoon which provided a relaxed and quiet environment to meet and talk.

Here are some of our residents’ comments who took part:

“Everything went well, it was a good chance for family to talk to the core team about work you’re doing and to see what else you’ve got to do. It was good for friends and family to have input and see it from their side as well.. I really enjoyed it and friends, family enjoyed it. I definitely would do it again and encourage other residents to join in on the next one.”

“It was good for your family to meet staff and talk about what you do and see the positives and that you’re on the right track. It was god to see my family in a different environment where it is quiet and you can have a proper conversation.”

“ It’s good for family to see who you’re working with and get more insight into the programme. It gives family a chance to give a bit of input and speak to staff. It was enriching for my sister. I thought it was a great day. I would have liked to have seen more people there. There was a natural feel to the day and it was nice to get to move around and show them work you’ve done. It was peace of mind for the family.”

The Beacon will be putting another family day on at the end of the year.

A Marathon Event

In the last issue one of our residents was about to embark on 7 marathons in 7 days to raise money for The Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield. Here’s how it went:

I did it in 4 days completing 2 marathons a day as I was told a marathon a day on a bike was easy so I made it a lot harder for myself! I felt like by doing this I’d earned the sponsorship money. Doing 2 marathons back to back took me 2 hours 20 minutes and I was knackered after it! What kept me motivated was the cause I was doing it for. It was nice for me to do this for my own local hospital. So far I have raised £585.50. All donations are vital to the hospital to ensure it remains at the forefront of paediatric care for many years to come.

EMDR (Eye, Movement, De-sensitisation and Re-processing

One of our residents talks about his experiences of a trauma therapy we offer here on the Beacon.

EMDR is a trauma based programme that is designed to overcome PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder). Anyone can get PTSD . It is when something traumatic happens to a person that the brain cannot process. EMDR mimics the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle of sleep which helps us process memories. It has proven to be very effective and takes less time than actually talking about your trauma. I have been doing EMDR for nearly 6 months and I already see the benefits . I have fewer nightmares and my anxiety has reduced too. At first I was in two minds whether to do it or not, as it sounded too much like science fiction but after I did some research, I decided that I had nothing to lose. I haven’t regretted it and I would recommend it to anyone. It is still hard as you have to re-live your experiences, but it’s well worth it in the end.

Fitness on the Beacon

A resident talks about his efforts to stay fit and healthy on the treatment programme.

We have two rowing machines, two bikes and two cross trainer machines on the Beacon—more than any other wing / unit in Garth. I like to use the bike mainly as part of my ‘new me’ healthy lifestyle. I regularly go to the jail gymnasiums too, I use the treadmill, spinning bikes and occasionally get involved in rounders. There’s about 5 of us that go to the gym during 2 week day sessions and almost 10 of us on a weekend. We have 5 sessions a week usually.

One of the Occupational Therapy Assistant, Bridget, is a qualified fitness instructor. Bridget runs a variety of bodyweight circuits including HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Insanity type sessions for residents on a Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30 am for 30 minutes. I have taken part and really enjoyed the sessions. I use the modified techniques which Bridget demonstrates because I have blood pressure problems. This service is unique to us on the Beacon and no matter what our ability levels are, Bridget makes us welcome and accommodates these. I really appreciate Bridget’s hard work.

Stamp of approval from the PDSA

One of our men is currently raising money   for the PDSA which is a charity that provides free veterinary care to sick and injured pets of people in need.

At my last establishment I collected stamps from prisoners that had been taken off their post they’d received. PDSA sells those used stamps to stamp dealers for money to help them look after poorly animals. I asked Beacon staff if I could do this here, they agreed. Our stamps have raised £43 so far for the charity and we got a nice thank you card from one of their volunteers. It makes me feel good to help charity.

Photography Group

One of the sessions we offer on the Beacon is developing skills in photography. One resident shares his continuing interest in this area.

Photography, the art of capturing light, has come a long way since its invention. Originally requiring chemical processes that were time consuming; now with the advent of digital technology it is now instant. Point and click and view your picture on the back of the camera instantly and retake it if it’s not quite right. Long gone are the days of waiting for film to be developed to see if you got that shot right.

I first got into photography when I visited New York shortly after 9-11. A rather pushy retailer wouldn’t let me leave his shop , he kept making a better and better deal on a camera until I gave in and bought it. I started snapping around the city and as close as I could get towards the ‘Ground Zero’, where the twin towers stood barely a month before.

When I got home to the UK I purchased a photo printer and was amazed at how good the printed images were. Looking back I realise that it wasn’t that good compared to using more modern tech but I was inspired and went to college and studied a ND and HND in photography. Circumstances prevented me from starting a career in photography but I still had a passion for it.

I was pleased to see photography offered on the Beacon and didn’t hesitate to sign up. It was great clicking away again . An advantage of digital tech is you can take unlimited amounts of shots which increases your chances of getting some good shots.

I had an advantage studying it previously. I was aware of techniques and what to look for like shapes, contrasts, shadows, textures, symmetries etc. and how to frame a shot. When you look through a lens and practice, you acquire a knack of knowing what will make a good photo. Even in our limited surroundings our group managed to get some good shots which have been printed on canvasses and placed around the group rooms.

I would recommend anyone to try this group . Who knows, you may get printed.

Examples of the group’s work are included throughout this issue.

Creative Writing

Our creative writing group is run once a week by published author, William Park. A resident gives us his views on the weekly sessions.

When you hear about a creative writing course on a therapeutic unit you get images in your head of a 60 something hippie handing out placid images and being told to write about how it makes us feel, aww ain’t it nice?

Nope, this group is an actual proper exploration of the desire to write, a manipulation of the English language to come up with unique tales that are written for the love of it, not just so you can deal with the traumatic death of Hammy the hamster.

Focus on Personality Disorder - Schizotypal

One of the Beacon’s referral criteria is to either have a personality disorder or significant personality needs. Our personalities are our patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that make us who we are. Someone with personality difficulties may often have long standing problems in how they think about themselves and others which causes issues with relationships in many aspects of their life.

People with schizotypal personality disorder may:

  • Find making close relationships extremely difficult.
  • Think and express themselves in ways that others find ‘odd’, using unusual words or phrases.
  • Behave in ways that others find eccentric.
  • Believe that they can read minds or that they have special powers such as a ‘sixth sense’.
  • Feel anxious and tense with others who do not share these beliefs.
  • Feel very anxious and paranoid in social situations.

Information used from mind.org.uk

The Enabling Environment EE Standards

Following a rigorous assessment The Beacon has now achieved the Enabling Environment Award which means our unit develops and supports a healthy social environment. The Enabling environment involves 10 standards; Belonging, Involvement, Boundaries, Structure, Safety, Openness, Communication, Development, Leadership and Empowerment.

This issue will focus on :


“There are Opportunities to be spontaneous and try new things”

Throughout the programme residents have the opportunity to start projects, implement new ideas and try new groups. We offer a varied range of sessions from Research and design to men’s health and comedy club; our card making business was developed from an original idea of one of our former residents; various residents have undertaken successful fundraising charity ventures; spurs have been brightened up by painting art work and quotes on the walls; there are various representative roles on offer including activity rep and EE rep where new ideas can be implemented, for example, the activities rep is responsible for creating a community competition once a month where each spur competes for a prize at the end of the programme; the EE group suggested that residents chair the monthly community meeting which has now been implemented.

Poem - Silence Screams My Name

Rough and tumble river bubbling in my veins

kaleidoscope memories I can’t explain

blurring my horizons as I turn the page

and nothing stays the same

when the silence screams my name


And even as the hands of time are busy bending space

that multi channel nothingness is in my face

but this is what I wanted so I won’t complain

coz it doesn’t mean a thing

when the silence screams my name


And I wonder if I have the power to change

tiny footsteps I can’t retrace

tiny hearts I can’t replace

when the silence screams my name

Art Work

The residents on the Beacon like to express their thoughts and feelings in different ways. Some choose art to do this. The Beacon offers group sessions in art and craft or some people prefer to do art work in their own time.

Here are some examples of their work…...