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Young offenders’ DVD to help peers stay on the straight and narrow

Company news

Four young people from HMYOI Deerbolt in County Durham are the ‘stars’ of a new DVD which will be used to discourage others from becoming victims of drug and alcohol abuse.

The DVD was the idea of healthcare support worker Lindsay Burton who works in the healthcare unit at HMYOI Deerbolt, which is run by independent sector health and social care provider Care UK.

Lindsay said: “In addition to my clinical duties I have a responsibility for health promotion projects. I really enjoy that aspect of my job because it gives me the opportunity to take a health issue and make it relevant to the patients who we support. I work closely with the drug and alcohol recovery team to run group sessions discussing the health risks of drug, alcohol misuse and sexual health related diseases and viruses. 

“We had been using a very old VHS video as a health promotion aid but when it finally gave up the ghost we talked about producing a new DVD. We approached some of our clients with alcohol-related convictions to see if they would be interesting in taking part in the DVD and telling their story. Four of them were very keen so we teamed up with the students in the performing arts studio to produce the DVD.

“Everyone is very happy with the finished DVD. It runs for 11 minutes and recounts how our four young people first got involved with alcohol and drug abuse and how that led to crime. We hope this DVD will be used by other young offender institutions or prisons and we are also exploring how it may be used in the community.”

Lindsay has also designed a poster that focused on sexual health and was used nationally targeting young men in other offender health services. In addition, a few years ago she was involved in a project with the King’s Fund to create a new therapeutic room in which the offenders at HMYOI Deerbolt could socialise in. It’s also used for family visits and for people receiving bad news, mental health interviews and acupuncture.

Lindsay added: “Working in offender healthcare isn’t for everybody, you either like it or you don’t. But I love it here and it’s so rewarding supporting young people and educating them about how to take responsibility for their own health – both at HMYOI Deerbolt and in society generally.”

Care UK has provided healthcare services at HMYOI Deerbolt since 2011. The independent organisation also runs offender health services at 20 other locations across England.

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