28 August 2014

AWP staff in national awards final

Take one inspiring boxfit project and add an innovative substance misuse programme for young offenders. The result? National recognition for two outstanding initiatives that are changing lives.

Both the Bristol Boxfit project and HMP YOI Portland susbstance misuse team's Inside Recovery Programme have been deservedly shortlisted in the national Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards 2014. The Positive Practice Awards are held annually to recognise and share excellent practice and innovation in mental health, with nominations coming from sectors including the world of sports, as well as from health and social care organisations.

Bristol Boxfit has been shortlisted in the Integrating Physical and Mental Healthcare category and was nominated by Malcolm Sinclair. Bristol Boxfit is an inner city partnership project set up in 2013 by staff from Empire Boxing at Bristol Boxing Gym and the active life trainers from the Bristol Active Life Project (BALP) to improve mental health through healthier physical lifestyles. In particular the project benefits people in deprived local communities who have found it difficult to engage well with mainstream mental health services.

The project runs weekly non-contact sessions at Bristol Boxing Gym, led jointly by a professional boxing and fitness trainer and a mental health professional.

Advocated by Frank Bruno, who spent a day with participants, the project is predominently engaging young adult who have previously had little or no therapeutic contact with local mental health services.

The AWP substance misuse team at HMP Young Offenders Institution Portland, have been shortlisted in the Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System category for their Inside Recovery Programme, nominated by Benn Judd. The category recognises innovative service development and this programme, which supports young offenders who have high treatment needs for drugs and/or alcohol, is a great example of innovation directly benefitting service users.

The HMP YOI Portland substance misuse team launched the Inside Recovery Programme in 2012 using node-link mapping and motivational interviewing to help prisoners work towards and take ownership of their recovery. For many of these vulnerable young people, dual diagnosis is a significant factor and the programme takes this into account. Psychometric testing at the start, during and completion of the programme enables participants to understand areas to focus on and the progress that they make. Graduates of the scheme (at the time of nominating there had been 102 graduates out of 128 participants) can choose to train as peer mentors to support further cohorts through the programme.

Congratulations to the teams behind both of these inspirational initiatives and good luck at the National Positive Practice Awards at Sheffield United on 23 October!

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