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Interventions Alliance thanks volunteers helping to stop re-offending and keeping communities safe

A year on from when the Government renationalised its offender management and all associated rehabilitation work, returning it to the Probation Service, Interventions Alliance is celebrating its 1st year of service.  Interventions Alliance was launched by the Seetec Group, after it had quickly identified the gaps in support that the unification of the service would bring, after it had successfully managed Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) across the South East and South West.

1 year on and Interventions Alliance celebrates supporting over 11,000 people with convictions on their journeys to a brighter future. Interventions Alliance provides a variety of innovative and evidence-led interventions, including specialist education training and employment support helping people with convictions move towards employment, and specialist domestic abuse and stalking units to support both perpetrators and victims.

The employee owned business employs over 230 experts, and it also has a cohort of volunteers offering a unique and specialised services to people leaving prison and supporting them on their rehabilitation journey.

Cheryl Milner, Volunteer Unit Manager at Interventions Alliance, explains:- "Our volunteers allow us to offer a very personable service to people that often feel no 1 cares. Our volunteers represent people from all walks of life, they may be retired, a student or someone with lived experience that has been through the criminal justice system and wants to give something back. We offer in depth training for all our volunteers to enable them to support individuals with often complex needs. Our volunteers help people with a variety of day to day tasks such as applying for a bank account, looking for jobs and finding housing support, most importantly they offer their time to listen."

3 volunteers share their experience of helping people re-build their lives:- Peter Lewis, Lauren Brown and Ronald Donovan. Peter Lewis, 63, who lives in Somerset, has helped over 50 service users get back on track. After a successful career as a company director, Peter served a short spell in prison. Through this experience, Peter realised the lack of support available to ex-offenders on their release from prison, particularly from employers often not giving people with convictions a second chance.

Peter said:- "There are a number of reasons why employers aren't taking advantage of the large cohort of workers that are leaving prison and want to work. From my experience a lot of this is lack of knowledge and accessibility. Employers are just unaware of the potential of, nor how to access, this pool of committed and hardworking individuals. Another barrier includes concerns over the risk of employing someone with a conviction. It's natural to have these concerns, but it is unfounded. Statistically, the evidence is clear that someone with a criminal past is less likely to re-offend if they are in employment. They just need to be given a second chance to prove their worth."

Peter has found the volunteering process rewarding, although difficult at times, adding: "Breaking through the red tape and other barriers can be extremely challenging and frustrating at times, but there's nothing quite like seeing the reaction from somebody when they have success with something they never thought they could achieve."

Another volunteer, Ronnie Donovan, 59, from Ellesmere Port, wanted to find a way to help ex-addicts and ex-offenders.

Ronnie, who is at the start of his volunteering journey said:- "Volunteering is fantastic. You can choose who you think would benefit from your volunteering work the most, so for me that's helping people with addiction. Quite a lot of the people I work with aren't in a great place, so it's nice that I can share my own experience and help them navigate the system to get the help they need. Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference to someone's life."

Ronnie was a successful landscaper, even becoming a millionaire, but Ronnie says he's the happiest he has ever been while volunteering.

Criminology student, Lauren Brown, 21, from Liverpool, has a different motivation for volunteering with Interventions Alliance, after previously taking a more theoretical approach as part of her University studies.

Lauren explained:- "I wanted to experience working with vulnerable adults because all my knowledge is theoretical and based on my studies. Because I studied criminology, I am interested in ensuring we look for solutions to break the cycle of re-offending. Most people that are involved in the criminal justice system don't have many support networks around them and that tends to be why they become stuck in the cycle of offending. I don't believe prison is the right place for everyone, I think many people would benefit from other rehabilitation approaches. For some people going to prison doesn't actually change anything when they are released, as they go back to their old ways. I wanted to get involved with the work of Interventions Alliance as they are offering innovative, and evidence led solutions to break the cycle. It's so important that we treat people with respect and as an individual rather than just someone who has committed an offence. It's a really rewarding experience and very insightful as to why people have committed certain types of crimes and you'll see things from a different point of view. Also, if you're then helping someone to stop reoffending, then you're also helping to prevent people from becoming victims."

World's 1st Chemo Drone Delivery Announced on NHS Birthday

NHS cancer patients will be the 1st in the world to benefit from chemotherapy delivered by drone as part of a new trial, NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard has announced. The drones, set to make their 1st flight in the coming weeks, will mean that the lifesaving treatment can be picked up and dropped to patients on the same day. Announcing the major trial on the NHS's 74th birthday, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the drone deliveries were just the latest:- "extraordinary" instalment in another year that has showcased NHS innovation and cutting edge technology.

In a 1st of its kind trial, starting on the Isle of Wight, chemo will be flown directly from the Pharmacy, at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, to St Mary's Hospital, where staff will collect it before distributing it to Hospital teams and patients. Chemotherapy is difficult to transport as some doses have a short shelf life so the NHS has partnered with tech company Apian to come up with a new way of getting the treatment to patients in record time.

Drones will cut the usual delivery time from 4 hours to 30 minutes, saving fuel and money and making cancer care much more convenient for patients living on the Isle of Wight who often need to travel to the mainland for treatment at the moment. Each drone delivery replaces at least 2 car journeys and 1 hovercraft or ferry journey per delivery; saving carbon emissions and contributing to improving air quality for patients and the community. It will also help the NHS become the 1st health system in the world to become carbon neutral. The drone programme will be trialled initially in the Isle of Wight followed by Northumbria and could allow clinicians to make:- "same day orders" for vital medical equipment and other treatments.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said:- "Delivering chemo by drone is another extraordinary development for cancer patients and shows how the NHS will stop at nothing to ensure people get the treatment they need as promptly as possible - while also cutting costs and carbon emissions. From a smartwatch to manage Parkinson's to revolutionary prostate treatments and making the most expensive drug in the world available to NHS patients, it has been another amazing year of innovation in the way the health service delivers treatment and care. As the NHS turns 74 it is clear that the pace of change and improvement across the health service is only accelerating as our fantastic staff seek to make the most of life changing advances to improve patients lives as we promised in the NHS Long Term Plan."

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to deploying the latest cutting edge technologies while rolling out new innovations and treatments to patients across the country. Earlier this year, the NHS announced that patients with Parkinson's disease would be given life changing smartwatches that allow doctors to remotely assess their condition in a pioneering project to revolutionise NHS care. The health service also began treating sickle cell patients with a life changing drug after striking a deal for the ground breaking treatment:- 'crizanlizumab,' which will be offered to up to 5,000 patients within three years. For the 1st time ever, the NHS has also been able to offer the game changing cystic fibrosis treatment, Kaftrio, to hundreds of children between 5 and 12, thanks to a landmark deal struck by NHS England to ensure all patients can access it in line with MHRA guidance.

7 year old Kate Farrar was 1 of the 1st under 12s to start getting the drug this year, which is revolutionary in that it treats the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis, giving Kate hope of her dream to fulfil her dream of becoming an Olympic gymnast.

Pat Maunders, 64, from Rushden, in Northamptonshire also took part in a Cytosponge pilot being rolled out by NHS England which uses a small capsule-shaped device being swallowed and then extracted via string to collect samples for analysis.

Mrs Maunders, said:- "Overall it was a very quick procedure and there was no pain or discomfort and nothing to be afraid of. It is less intrusive and quicker than having a gastroscopy tube camera investigation under sedation and I was happy to have it instead and support the NHS research. Swallowing was easy and then you wait. The only slight irritation is when they carefully pull the sponge up, but that only lasts about three seconds."

For patients with advanced and aggressive forms of cancer, the NHS has struck a number of deals this year, from the 30 minute treatment for advanced womb cancer called:- 'Dostarlimab,' to a life extending injection for blood cancer, called daratumumab that can extend the lives of patients with a recurring and incurable cancer of the bone marrow cells; known as multiple myeloma; by an average of 9 months.

Talking about how the chemo drone will be able to support services in the Isle of Wight, the IOW NHS Trust CEO Darren Cattell said:- "The Island has a long history of innovation. We are excited to continue that tradition by utilising the latest technology to overcome the challenges we face and to provide the very best service to our patients. We are still at a relatively early stage but the use of drones to transport medical supplies is a concept that has radical and positive implications for both the NHS and for patients across the UK as well as the Isle of Wight. It is great to be part of this innovative project."

Apian CEO, Alexander Trewby said:- "My mother worked for the NHS in Portsmouth her entire life before she passed away from cancer 3 years ago. This project marks a very important 1st step in the construction of a network of drone corridors connecting:- Hospitals, Pathology Labs, GP Surgeries, Care Homes and Pharmacies up and down the country so that in the future, everyone's mother will benefit from the delivery of faster, smarter and greener healthcare."

The trial is a joint effort between Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Solent Transport, University of Southampton, King's College London, Skylift, Modini, the Ministry of Defence, UKRI and Apian.

Matt Whitty, Chief Executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative and Director for Innovation, Research and Life Sciences at NHS England, said:- "It's a pleasure to see an innovation that began as an idea from talented NHS staff become a reality with such huge potential, and all with the support of our Accelerated Access Collaborative programmes. Apian was supported by the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme (CEP) which provides support to entrepreneurial NHS staff helping nurture innovation within the NHS and then they received funding support from our Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare Awards. The 1st ever drone delivery of chemotherapy will show the very best of the impact that innovation can have on patient care as well as contributing to supporting the NHS's net zero goals."

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