MAP Case Studies

Read the stories of some of our project participants.


Ruby began engaging with the Creative Media Unit due to an existing interest in music production. Initially she could be quite difficult to engage and put up barriers between her and staff, taking time to develop trust and build relationships.

Ruby began attending the unit regularly and encouraged other female prisoners to come along. Although she began to develop meaningful relationships with staff, she maintained a certain persona while she was in custody; a defence mechanism and means to survive which she later discussed with support staff.

On release, Ruby was supported by our Community Integration Support Service, as well as other agencies. She initially kept the support aspect at a distance, trying to show services she was able and not dependant on them. Ruby focused more on getting involved with shmu in a media volunteering capacity. However, as her relationships with support staff grew in the community, she began being more open about her life and the struggles she was having.

She spoke about her criminal lifestyle and how she wanted a different life for herself and her family. She developed a way of working with our support where she felt in control and able, but where she felt she could also be honest and ask for help if she needed it.

The more Ruby worked with shmu in the community, the more her barriers came down and she was able to be her true self and start to talk about a life away from criminality. She has faced many struggles in the community with housing, outstanding investigations and contact with her children, but she is engaging positively with those around her, asking for and accepting support and is working to build a bright future for herself.

She is now settled in permanent accommodation, she has regular contact with her children, she remains drug free and actively stays away from negative influences. Ruby is a keen supporter of shmu and wants to get more involved in volunteering and hopes to have her own community radio show.

Patrick had been supported by our Community Integration Support Service for over a year, he was doing well in the community – he was in permanent accommodation, engaging with weekly support appointments and staying away from negative influences.

Patrick had several drug relapses while we supported him and during these relapses, he put himself in vulnerable situations. Patrick would go in and out of work; he would lose his job when having a bad spell with his mental health, this would cause him to relapse and have a spell where he was in poor physical health as well as mental health.

We would try and offer him meaningful activity with shmu during his highs and lows, however, when he was low, he struggled with the drive and confidence, and when he was on a high, he just wanted to get back to work and therefore didn’t have time to volunteer. He did bits and pieces on the radio and always really enjoyed it. After his low periods, Patrick would pull himself out with support and begin to recover.

He would start to feel better once he got clean and would have a spell of positivity and motivation where he wanted to be around people and do something productive, so he would go back to work sooner than advised by those supporting him. He would get by for a matter of months, and then his mental health would suffer again. We went through this cycle with Patrick multiple times, with both us and him struggling to find him a way to break it. At the end of last year, Patrick was signed off work due to an accident at work where he was severely injured.

Although a difficult time for Patrick, he now admits that being forced to stay off work really helped him. He had time and space to recover and engage with shmu for support. He got back into his radio and was keen to start doing some sports reporting. Patrick is a sociable person but was staying away from acquaintances who would lead him down a negative path, which made him quite isolated and lonely.

CISS then started an adults media group at the start of the year, bringing together men and women to work on joint projects using radio and TV.

Patrick was invited to this group but was hesitant to start as he had low confidence and was anxious meeting people he didn’t know. However, with support, Patrick faced his fears and came along to the group. Patrick surprised himself and staff at how quickly he relaxed into the group and made connections with the other participants. He would be the first person through the door in the morning with research completed for the group.

His confidence grew each week and he was smiling and laughing. Patrick spoke to the group about his mental health and struggles in his life and took their advice and guidance, as well as support from the CISS worker. Patrick took steps to begin contacting his daughters, something he had always wanted to do, but didn’t have the confidence or mental wellness to follow through on. He applied to college – something he said he was too old to do when encouraged by CISS staff, but with peer support and another member of the group who was also a mature student encouraging him, he applied to and was accepted for a media course starting in August 2020.

Patrick has a certain spark about him now, and appears happy and positive about his future. He continues to attend the group weekly, building positive peer relationships and collaborating on meaningful media pieces; including a documentary filmed by one of the other participants in which Patrick bravely shared his journey through recovery.