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Southside Partnership

Southside Partnership
Disability

Southside Partnership

'An extraordinarily powerful reach'

Extraordinarily important and very powerful were among the judges comments describing Southside's prison project. A pioneering support service for offenders with mental health needs in London and the South East, it started in HMP Brixton in 1999.

A major obstacle to Southside's early work was the frequency with which offenders were transferred from one prison to another. This typically cut them off from support agencies.

In March 2003, Southside set up a wider support network. "The most important thing is the reach we now have," says Helen Albert, fundraising and communications officer. "Since we have expanded to cover 12 prisons we have been able to keep in touch with service users when they are moved. This has meant being able to help a greater number, the vast majority of whom have additional needs, such as homelessness, drug and alcohol dependencies. The project has received more than 300 referrals from men's prisons, and since work started in women's prisons last June, it has already exceeded its annual target of 80-100 referrals within nine months."

Albert is realistic but confidently optimistic about achievements so far. "We're not going to have a perfect happy ending all the time," she says. "What is important is making sure these people have the best possible opportunities and support they need."

Margaret Malcolm 
Chief executive 
Scout Hall 
Scout Lane 
Old Town 
Clapham 
London 
SW4 0LA 
020 7819 1270 
Reg no. 1010187
http://www.southsidepartnership.org.uk/

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