People are at the heart of everything we do at Simon Community Scotland. We occupy a unique position, reaching and connecting with people that others can’t.
Sometimes people take a big steps with us to experience positive differences in their lives, more often it’s lots of little steps that add up over time.
We are evaluating the first 18 months of our pioneering Managed Alcohol Programme. There have been huge learnings since we first started researching MAP’s in other countries and especially since we first opened our MAP in January 2022.
The greatest thing of all is to see the men re-emerge as people, with histories and futures, with skills, ambitions and now some hope for future. They’re quality of life continues to grow as their health improves, their sense of identity builds and they can see a future beyond their dependence on alcohol.
Few of the men ever prioritised their health before, but are now thinking about being well, keeping well and even making sure they have the right specs and their teeth are cared for. The stability and security of a safe place to be allows them to think more about their wellbeing and to want better health.
People are eating well and often eating together around the dining room table, just being people enjoying a meal together, but it is so much more as food is an important protective factor someone who is dependant on alcohol.
Alcohol had robbed them of their meaning, purpose, relationships, connections and things to do.
Many of the men have reconnected with their family since moving to MAP, lost relationships with their parents and children are being rebuilt. This is thanks to our wrap-around support, the psychologically informed environment that they are living in, having a structure and stability.
The MAP is not a temporary solution, it is a home for as long as anyone needs it. However we do already have one man who can now see himself in his own home and is pursuing a housing application with the team, that’s how much more confident and able he feels to self manage.
Our Managed Alcohol Programme gives people the ability to live and not just exist. When that happens, you can see some incredibly positive change.
We are very grateful for the support of the Scottish Government and funding from The Rayne Foundation and The Tudor Trust who have provided a proportion of the running costs, with the majority being met from Simon Community Scotlands own funds.
Thank you to Elena Whitam, Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy of Scotland, for taking the time to visit MAP yesterday. It was lovely to introduce Elena to Peter, our Service Lead and to John and Peter who we are supporting at MAP, their home.
Lorraine McGrath, CEO Simon Community Scotland
You can watch an excellent interview by The Scotsman with Lorraine & John who we are supporting at MAP HERE