Spotlight -

Connecting Citizens

Turning Point Scotland has taken on an exciting new approach which will be embedded as a central part of the culture and ethos of the organisation. Citizenship is a philosophy and model originating from America but was brought here by Turning Point Scotland, following the emerging partnership and links with both the University of Strathclyde and Yale in Connecticut, USA.

Defined as ‘an innovative and holistic model for community integration and social inclusion’ the idea of Citizenship is defined as a measure of the strength of an individual’s connection to the 5 R’s of rights, responsibilities, roles, resources, and relationships that society makes available to its members and is designed to address the issue of community disconnection.

Karen Black, Citizenship Development Coordinator, explains how the model works and how it relates to Turning Point Scotland:

“Alongside the 5 R’s is the sense of belonging and feeling part of your community.

We want people to redefine themselves and build an identity away from the reasons that brought them into services and to realise they have a life beyond these issues.”

The unique nature of Citizenship is that the model will reach right across the spectrum of support Turning Point Scotland offers whether that is substance misuse, homelessness, mental health or learning disabilities. It will also begin at the point a person begins receiving support and becomes involved with TPS. Karen said:

“It’s important to stress this isn’t aftercare or another type of intervention. We are integrating it into the current programme and are supporting people with the 5 R’s right from the start. It’s not a new TPS service or an alternative to services. Ideally Citizenship works alongside the support we already offer and enhance it.”

TPS is piloting its own approach to Citizenship called ‘TPS Connecting Citizens’ involving volunteers and peer support. It involves a 6-month programme with classes twice weekly classes geared towards the rights, responsibilities, roles, relationships and resources of community membership. An important distinction to emphasise is the people taking part are called students and not referred to as service users.

The pilot is being attended by people using TPS services for students in the Glasgow area.