July - September 2016

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To download the full PDF version of the newsletter, click HERE.

What’s happening on the Beacon?

The last issue mentioned our open day which was held on 19th September. The open day was a great success with various agencies attending including the Probation Service, Parole Board, HMP Frankland and various NHS services. Both staff and residents were given the chance to talk about their experiences and therapy on the Beacon. The feedback from agencies was very positive:

“Very informative afternoon, which gave a good insight into what The Beacon is all about. Thank you to the men that told their stories and life experiences. The garden is amazing!”

On 5th December we have a family day planned where the residents’ relatives and loved ones will have the opportunity to meet the core teams on an informal basis and find out more about what the treatment programme involves.

The Beacon garden is now being tidied up for the winter but we’ve added some photos from summer and early autumn to brighten up the newsletter.

Focus on Personality Disorder: Borderline Personality Disorder

In general, someone with a personality disorder will experience difficulties in how he or she thinks, perceives, feels or relates to others. According to Emergence, which is a user –led organisation set up to support all those affected by personality disorder , these difficulties will be persistent, pervasive and problematic.

  • Problematic—‘be a source of unhappiness to that person and/or to others, and/or to severely limit them in their lives.’
  • Persistent—They will continue over a long period of time and usually emerge in adolescence, persisting into adulthood.
  • Pervasive—They will be present in most if not all of the person’s life.

Only a mental health professional will be able to diagnose a personality disorder.

The Mental Health Charity, Mind, outlines the main traits of Borderline Personality Disorder BPD);

Those with BPD may:

  • “feel very worried about people abandoning them, and would do anything to stop that happening
  • have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon)
  • not have a strong sense of who they are, and it can change depending on who they're with
  • find it very hard to make and keep stable relationships
  • act impulsively and do things that could harm them (such as binge eating, using drugs or driving dangerously)
  • have suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviour
  • feel empty and lonely a lot of the time
  • get very angry, and struggle to control their anger
  • When very stressed, sometimes they might:
  1. Feel paranoid
  2. Have psychotic experiences, such as seeing or hearing things that other people don't,
  3. Feel numb or 'checked out' and not remember things properly after they've happened”

Having a personality disorder doesn’t mean you have a bad personality it means that some of your thoughts and feelings are so difficult to manage that they are severely affecting your ability to live the life that you want.

Non-Smoking Spur Q’s and A’s

With the ban on smoking in prisons imminent in the next few years we asked one of our residents, Adam, how he managed with giving up smoking and moving to our non-smoking spur.

Q: What made you decide to quit smoking?

A: Two of my main reasons were finance and obviously for good health. One of my neighbours quit smoking before me and when he moved to the non-smoking spur, his achievement inspired me to do the same thing and on 31st May 2016 I had my last cigarette.

Q: Has the process and following move to the non smoking spur been difficult?

A: Moving off the smoking spur onto the non-smoking spur was a massive relief. I was finding it unpleasant being around smoke. Because I had so many reasons to quit, it gave me more motivation and so it wasn’t as hard as I initially thought.

Q: Do you regret the decision to quit or are you proud of your achievement?

A: The only thing I regret is having smoked in the first place and I am massively proud of myself for quitting because it’s another positive step in my personal development.

Q: Would you recommend it for others?

A: I would recommend it for everyone who smokes. It is difficult but if you already have the intention to give up, then you have already made the first step with a positive attitude. All you have to do is take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. Support is out there. With will power and the relevant tools that are in place anyone can do it.

EE Standards—Involvement

Just to re-cap. The Beacon is working towards an Enabling Environment award which is a quality improvement process aiming to support the development of healthy social environments . Evidence must be provided for 10 standards. These standards are;Belonging, Involvement, Boundaries, Structure, Safety , Openness, Communication, Development, Leadership and Empowerment. This issue will focus on Involvement


This standard requires that;

  1. Staff and residents share responsibility for the environment .
  2. Recipients and providers take a variety of roles and responsibilities within the environment.
  3. Recipients and providers are involved in planning their own development
  4. Recipients and provides are involved in contributing to the development of others.
  5. Recipients and providers are involved in making the decisions about the environment.

Some of the examples of evidence for this include our men taking up a variety of representative roles such as Activity/Weekend Rep. This role involves Organising games and activities for evening and weekends alongside staff members on shift and updating the community on the role within monthly community meetings.

Another great example is when , during the summer, two of our residents put a proposal forward for the community to watch a world cup match. This was agreed with staff and organised by the two residents including creating bunting for the muster area. The residents were given the afternoon off from programme and the opportunity to watch the match with both staff and residents.

A musical note

One of our residents was receiving 1:1 guitar lessons from a member of staff. Sadly the staff member has moved on but that hasn’t deterred him,

“Being on the Beacon doesn't mean we’re cut off as I’ve recently joined the Garth prison band which is prison wide with a final group of 6 (more are possible) . I haven’t looked back since.”

Therapy—What’s It all About?

At the Beacon there are a range of therapies on offer.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

This therapy helps you learn to manage your difficult emotions by letting yourself experience, recognise and accept them. This enables you to change difficult or harmful ways of coping with them.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

This is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all connected. The way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave

Drama Therapy

This uses a range of drama and creative techniques to help people process difficult emotions. Our drama therapy group aims to support people to identify, explore and change different parts of themselves or ‘characters within us’, by ‘bringing these characters to life’. ‘Bringing a character to life’ can include drawing them, using figures or objects to represent them, and/or by acting as that character in session.

Schema Therapy

This focuses on early life experiences

which allows for more emotions to come to the surface and be experienced in the therapy room.

Cognitive Analytical Therapy

This involves looking at the way a person thinks, feels and acts together with events and relationships which are experienced from childhood.

A bit about Christmas

We have recently started a card making project with the approval and funding assistance from our Governor . Starting with the Christmas season, members of the card making group and other residents have been working extremely hard designing and making Christmas cards and selling them to the wider prison. Any profit made will go towards charity and buying something for he Beacon community.

Poem - 'How to be mellow'

Think of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

You’re not the nation’s followers

You plough your own field

Follow your own path

Think of your family and kin

From where you were to begin

The road’s full of potholes and grit

But the highway of your mind

Can be cleared of emotional sh*t

Honey from bees is very nice

As is friendship full of spice

Not NPS but genuine stuff

Where affection and love is enough

To fill your world with serenity

As you travel the path of mediocrity

So laugh and smile it’s not hard

You’ll find you might be a bard