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"Renewed my faith in what is possible"

Friday, January 5th 2018

RECOOP’s consultancy project in support of The Brookdale Centre for Healthy Aging (City University of New York) and the Osbourne Association (a charity supporting offenders in the community across the state) is nearing completion. 

Project:  Our project will support communities to better integrate re-entering older adults. Our innovation will bring together Osborne’s strengths in prison discharge planning, Brookdale’s community-based research and advocacy with older adults and RECOOP’s community strengthening approach. The resulting model will strengthen the community as a whole and foster a culture of health by enhancing social inclusion, re-engaging families and catalysing resilience.

Strategy:  The plan will be to translate elements of RECOOP’s Support Café, which helps recently released older adults re-engage with the community by integrating health and social services. This model builds healthier communities by altering the physical environment, to better accommodate the needs of older ex-offenders; partnering with community members to ease the reintegration; and building social connections by encouraging socialization and fostering mentoring relationships. Further, we will promote health as a shared value by offering physical and mental health education, relaxation and meditation.

Visits to New York were made by both RECOOP Board and Team members and we hosted three visits from our American colleagues, the most recent of which was made by Lorie Goshin, Assistant Professor at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing and Francesca Aborn, Case Manager, Elder Reentry Initiative, The Osborne Association. On returning home, Lorie said:

“I can’t thank you and your team enough for your warmth and generosity. The visit was humbling and mind blowing. Last week renewed my faith in what is possible in the justice system. It will affect how I approach this work for the rest of my career. You are doing amazing work! I can’t wait to share what we’ve learned with our US-based team members and with everyone else when we publish the adaptation evaluation. I promise to keep you posted along the way….”

Paul Grainge – RECOOP Operations Manager said: 

“This project has been such an enriching experience for RECOOP and all those involved. Being able to discuss and visualise the services and challenges in supporting this particular group and the difficulties they face both in the UK and US has been really interesting. Sharing ideas and solutions to the challenges of moulding services around the rigorous Criminal Justice model of our statutory partners has given us all lots to take forward. We look forward to continuing working with our new international partners and developing our relationship in the future.”

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