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At the end of October the Beacon Community came together to celebrate the Beacon achieving the Enabling Environment Award. This means our unit develops and supports a healthy social environment. All members of the community have worked hard so that we could achieve this and should be extremely proud of themselves. It was decided by residents and staff that we should all be awarded with an afternoon of celebration. The event was led by the men and both they and staff spoke about their positive experiences on the unit. It was an up beat afternoon followed by a buffet which all seemed to enjoy.
The Beacon held a coffee morning early this November. Various staff from the offender personality disorder pathway attended and learned about the work we do here on the Beacon from staff and residents. Residents in particular made a fantastic contribution to the day often talking very openly and honestly about their experiences and helping out with setting up, greeting guests, refreshments etc. Feedback from this day has been very positive. Here is just one of the comments:
“Just wanted to say thank you to you, your team and the men for such a great open day today! We thoroughly enjoyed it and, as part of the OPD pathway, we look forward to potentially working together in the future.”
The Enabling environment involves 10 standards; Belonging, Involvement, Boundaries, Structure, Safety, Openness, Communication, Development, Leadership and Empowerment.
This issue will focus on Involvement.
‘The whole Community has responsibility for the wider community and the environment.’
Everyone should have some involvement in this. Our Enabling Environment rep explains this standard -
How the above is achieved on the Beacon:
There is a group which is run called Further Enabling The Environment, in this group the residents have got involved in interviewing staff who want to come and work on the Beacon so we get the right staff. Beacon residents have the opportunity to come up with questions and be part of the interview if they choose.
The EE group has also changed the community meeting so we now chair the meeting. Also Beacon residents got involved in getting the Beacon an Enabling Environment award. Finally this Beacon newsletter you are reading, Beacon residents are involved in. If you choose to get involved you can as there are opportunities to do so.
One resident gives his opinion and encouragement on what he finds helpful on the Beacon:
Mental health—How’s Yours? There’s classes here that can help! But not what you think. Tuesday and Thursday Morning staff member Bridget has a fitness class. It’s sure to do the job, it’s only for 30 minutes and all fitness levels can do it, come and have a go, you know it makes sense; mental health sense.
The latest Studies show that just an hour a week gives better mental health and there’s many other benefits too. Everyone’s welcome.
Do each exercise for 30 secs. Repeat each set 3 times, 30secs rest after each set.
To coincide with our open day a resident of ours arranged a Macmillan cake sale. He worked hard to distribute posters to notify staff and residents of the event in the hope he would be able to raise some money for this worthy cause. Staff from the unit and around the prison brought in various cakes to sell and over £200 was raised as a result of this.
One man gives his reasons why people should think of coming to the Beacon:
Do you have a PD (Personality Disorder? Do you want to do something with it? Manage it better now and in the future?
It’s a rollercoaster ride. What you need to decide is are you ready to get on this ride that’s called the Beacon Express.
Don’t wait for the next ride, the next chance, it might never come again, grab this chance now. Don’t listen to the negative peers around you. Stand up, be a leader not a follower. Be the king of your own heart. Be the captain of your own soul, the master of your own destiny.
It’s hard work on the Beacon but everything worth having is hard work. Be proud in your decision to be brave enough in wanting to change, live a normal life away from prison. No one was born to be in prison.
I’ve been at the bottom, I’ve also been at the top, I’ve spent time in the middle ground too but do you know what? Before you make the final decision friends, about ‘should I, or shouldn’t I?’ , try the Beacon Unit here at HMP Garth. Listen to your hearts and not your heads.
Good luck I hope you make the right decision for yourselves, whatever that may be, but on the days you’re feeling brave, take a chance and come to the Beacon. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Good luck friends.
If you are interested in the possibility of being referred to the Beacon, please speak to your offender manager.
One of the men on the Beacon describes how he feels coming back to the Beacon for a second time.
My first time around on the Beacon was for all the wrong reasons but suffice to say it wasn’t until I had been deselected and I had been back on D wing that the Beacon suddenly turned out to be exactly the right place. So come hell or high water I will make the most of what’s available. The difference this time round is a little hard to believe, but I’m happier than I have been in years.
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.
You need to have more than one or two of the traits for a diagnosis to be made and it can be that people meet the same criteria despite having different personalities and experiences
Avoidant (or anxious) personality disorder
Information from Mind.org
For the card making group on the Beacon Christmas starts around August/ September. The members have been working very hard this year to produce a really excellent standard of cards and with orders already coming in they stand to make a good amount of money to donate to the Samaritans.
Stuck in a rut, a cycle, turmoil with no end.
Fearful, angry or indifferent to what’s beyond the bend.
The Beacon could help to find the child inside
Help to crack that shell open wide.
How is your child inside? Does it cry? Does it fly?
Is it always asking why? Why ? Why?
Did it get the love it needed or was it beaten black and blue?
Treated good or badly, that child is the inner you.
So now you’re here in H.M.P. your life derailed , you’re no longer free.
Was it madness, anger or are you just too wild?
Is this a question you can’t answer? Then ask your inner child.
It will know the answers, be it fear, anger or indifference.
A safe place like the ‘Beacon’ could make all the difference.
A place to crack the shel and have a peak inside.
A place to talk about the things you would rather hide.
Is that a daunting notion? Then ask yourself where would you rather be.
On a stormy ocen or sailing a calm sea?
I’m not saying it will be easy, the work is all on you.
Take the steps, do the reps, push on through.
Because if my inner child can do it, can learn to fly again where once he was beaten black and blue, so can you.
I’m not trying to compete, you may have had it worse than me.
A reason to try the Beacon and set your child free.
Art and craft sessions always prove popular and offer a chance to learn new skills. One resident has recently learned crochet. He’s picked it up so well he’s been able to produce excellent Christmas decorations which were donated to the Derian House Hospice charity fair, and make this hat!