Circle Comes to St Augustine’s

Kenny has very kindly agreed to share his office with a Family Support worker from Circle.  Circle is a charity that provides holistic, community based support to marginalised children and families.  Formerly part of a national voluntary organisation Family Services Unit, they now work independently to improve opportunities for disadvantaged families.  This includes a focus on children at risk of school exclusion and their families;  children experiencing neglect, physical and emotional and/or sexual abuse;  children and families affected by parental drug and alcohol use; fathers who are  not engaging with helping service; and workforce development through mentoring and student training opportunities.

More specifically the Family Support worker based in Dumbarton will work with women being released from Greenock prison who have children under 16 and who themselves are affected by drug/alcohol issues..  The worker will do this by helping the women to prepare for their release and discussing their particular support needs.  Circle can provide the women with support to manage their life outside of prison, access other services; support to fill in forms, manage correspondence and support them in meetings with other professionals such as social workers and housing officers etc.   Circle can also offer support to help the women manage their children’s behaviour, support to set routines and provide support to other members of their family who are involved with the children’s lives e.g. grandparents.  We can also be a listening ear for the women.  For the children, Circle can; meet with the children and help them to talk about their worries; help the child to access groups/activities; support to improve children’s school attendance and provide support for the mothers  to attend their children’s medical appointments

The Circle service in this area will provide support to women being released from prison who are returning to anywhere in Argyll, Bute, East of West Dunbartonshire. This service is a pilot funded initially for one year by the Criminal Justice Partnership.  The same service is also being developed for women being released to Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire; this is currently funded for three years by the Robertson’s Trust.

In 2007, the Robertson Trust funded Circle to conduct research into the women’s prison population at HMP &YOI Cornton Vale.  Previous research into female offenders has identified them as an exceptionally vulnerable group, characterised by substance misuse, poor physical and mental health, deprivation and victimisation.  They commonly rely on prostitution and the drugs trade as a means of survival and require a tremendous range of support to overcome the numerous issues in their daily lives.

Circle identified a need for a more structured throughcare for this vulnerable group and began delivering this service in August 2008 for women being released from Cornton Vale to Edinburgh, West Lothian, North and South Lanarkshire.    As a result of the success of the service offered in Cornton Vale it has now been extended to Greenock prison and the six local authority areas and criminal justice partnerships.

Pastoral Care Course

The first Regional Pastoral Care Course was held in St Auggie’s on Saturday. Take a good look at the suspects. They could be visiting you soon!


It’s the start of a new partnership today, as Circle worker, Janet Rae, moved into  the St Auggie’s office to share the space with Kenny. Hopefully this can be a really positive partnership between St Augustine’s and Circle.

Those who want to know more can follow this link: Https://

Look Out For New Look

No, not the magazine, but a new website which is currently under construction. I was beginning to feel that this site was beginning to look a bit tired, so we have a new look coming your way soon. Hopefully we can keep all the old stuff, including photos, but give us something fresher and brighter.