Today is Tuesday, 17th of October, 2017
"Nobody listened to me for the last eight years, until you guys did." A reflection from one of our men.
The Anglican Action Reintegration Hub works across a variety of programmes to deliver support for the reintegration of men from prison back into the community. We are constantly exploring new projects and ways of providing pro-social support and interactions to restore the humanity to those we journey with.
We offer transitional accommodation for men in three blocks of flats in Hamilton. Our programme is 13 weeks in our accommodation and 13 weeks in supported community accommodation. Supervision and support is provided as well as assistance in finding employment and alternative accommodation when they are ready to return to the community after release from prison or other institutions.
We also have contracts with Department of Corrections to provide 24/7 mentoring, training and supervision in a long-term intensive residential support service for some clients.
The Manaaki Mai team build relationships, sometimes years prior to the release date of a person from prison. It’s all about trust. We want them to know where they will be coming out of prison to, and for them to know us. For them to at least know the face of the person who will pick them up from prison makes a huge difference to the nerves of someone who may have been inside for decades. Trust is what makes it, knowing they are part of a bigger whānau, the Anglican Action whānau. We break down the barriers by building relationships, giving responsibilities and consequences.
There is a real community feeling for those in our supported accommodation. The new residents beginning their journey with us are looked out for and after by the more senior guys, who have themselves been in our support for some time. There is a culture of awhi and mentoring. These guys know what it is like, what it feels like and have strategies to deal with the situations they know all too well. Some guys have had twenty years in prison and have nobody to return to upon their release.
Our support varies depending on the needs of the individual and their whānau, but can include, support with Work and Income, any medical assessments, we provide a fully furnished flat, food parcels, counselling, help with Probation, reconnecting with children and families where appropriate. We work to focus on their goals and how they can be motivated towards achieving them. We understand restrictions and conditions from Probation, so can work around these using the constructive relationship we have with Corrections.
The bicultural setting of our work is an incredible strength. Our kaumatua and chaplaincy offer a connection spiritually and to develop their sense of belonging.
One new initiative for 2014 has been the Men’s Support Group. This is an evening group to connect and inspire many of the men we support but also others in the community and former residents from our programmes.
Men often find themselves in situations where they are expected to deal with big changes on their own with little support. This group is about men being real, dealing with men’s questions and issues, having a safe space to tell their stories and work towards getting more out of life. Our group is open, easy going and for ordinary guys who have had tough times in the past, giving their support to help men who are going through tough times now.
We’ve created an environment where people are able to share.