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174 The Story of Parliament


A guiding hand


into adulthood The Good Shepherd Centre in Renfrewshire offers security and hope to some of Scotland’s most vulnerable youngsters


F


or those who run it, Te Good Shepherd Centre is about giving young people hope for the future. “Many of them feel


hopeless,” says Maria Harte, the centre’s Head of Service, “and our mission is to provide a positive and life-changing experience through individual care, education and skills development. We want our young people to build relationships with adults they can trust and to make positive changes.” Since 2006, the centre in Bishopton, Renfrewshire has


worked with some of Scotland’s most challenging and vulnerable 12- to 18-year olds. It provides young people with secure accommodation and tailored care to help them return safely to the community, and has done so since 2006. It is also the first secure unit in Scotland to have achieved the highest grade of “Excellent” from the Care Inspectorate, which commended Te Good Shepherd Centre for its innovative and cohesive work.


Tailored intervention At the heart of the centre’s efforts is the well-being of each individual, and personalised care is provided through a range of interventions. “We do a holistic assessment of need on admission,” says Harte. “Tese are based on the SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators—where ‘SHANARRI’ is an acronym for safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achieving, respected, responsible and included. Tis results in a tailored intervention based on the individual’s needs and strengths.” Te centre has also developed an outcomes framework based on these indicators, which allows them to measure the improvement in young people’s well-being and to inform the future development of the centre’s practice. With young people affected by everything from drug misuse to self-harm, the centre employs approaches such as anger management, cognitive behavioural therapy, behavioural- modification techniques and holistic therapies, and offers an environment that boosts young people’s self-esteem. Most of those who pass through its doors are referred through the


“Our ultimate vision is for Scotland to be the best place in the world for kids to grow up”


children’s hearings and criminal justice system. Te average stay in the centre is approximately five months. Young people can move between its 18-bed Secure Unit, a six-bed Close Support unit and a three-bed semi-independent unit.


A constant desire to improve Despite its success, the centre is constantly striving to improve. “We can’t stand still,” says Harte. “We have to keep being innovative in order to best support the needs of our young people.” As such, the centre has an Innovation Team that meets bimonthly to turn ideas and plans into realities. Tese have so far included the introduction of various projects, including an after-school activities club. Equally important has been a grant from the National Lottery to develop a master plan to include the addition of a football pitch, a swimming pool, a skills academy and the possibility of a mental health unit. Te work of the centre has been commended in a letter


sent by the Scottish government’s Acting Minister for Children and Young People, Fiona McLeod. “Te recent inspection grades that the centre has received following the Care Inspectorate’s last three visits are truly outstanding,” she writes. “I know that you work with some of the most vulnerable and challenging young people in Scotland. Tis is a demanding and sensitive task, making your achievements all the more significant.” Te centre’s success is best illustrated by the long-term


relationships it builds with its young people, which last— often for many years after they leave the centre. “Our ultimate vision is for Scotland to be the best place in the world for kids to grow up—and we’re a small but very crucial part of that,” says Harte. “If you give children hope, it allows them to realise and release their potential.” — www.goodshepherdcentre.org.uk


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