Blog Post Week Ending: 19.2.21
Titled: STARS the last few months in focus
It has almost been a year of STARS! Where does the time go?
If you haven’t heard about the STARS project (firstly, where have you been?), we would encourage you to check this out on our website you can find out more information under our services tab and “Expanding Restorative Practices Programme”. Alternatively have a look at CRJI’s YouTube account and watch some of the videos on STARS for a more in-depth insight into the programme or have a nosy at our programme leaflets or latest Newsletter.
For those who would like to hear how STARS is Striving Towards A Restorative Society and would like the latest synopsis of the most recent happenings then keep reading…
STARS partnered with Mindskills to deliver a workshop on restoratively responding to individuals in crisis to some of the Lurgan/ Craigavon STARS participants, feedback from this event was positive, one participant commented “thank you so much for the mental health course the other day I found it very informative and interesting”.
Two further cohorts completed the Introductory Level 2 training in the Lurgan/ Craigavon CIT area, one of these cohorts included officers from the NPT and they are working with the STARS mentor to look at how they can restoratively support youth involved in riotous behaviour.
In West Belfast three STARS participants supported the planning of a CRJI family event day at Colinglen forest park which focussed on families using restorative communication to help manage conflict.
In North Belfast approximately 6 plus mentees to date want to progress with further training and complete their Level 3 OCNs, 4 mentees from this area would like to volunteer in CRJI (New Lodge Office) and a cohort of youth workers commenced OCN level 2 training this month. The cohort of EWOs completed their Level 3 OCN training in “Understanding Theories of Restorative Justice within a Community Setting”.
Another hectic month with plenty of ongoing training and experiential learning for STARS participants, here’s an extract of what some of this work looks like on a regional basis and how we are seeing restorative practices being translated into the community settings:
InDerrySTARS mentors attended refresher “TTT” for the OCN Level 2 and Level 3 introductory modules, following all day training on the 20.10.20, all participants have completed introductory training, with almost a third of participants wishing to progress to Level 3 and further accredited training.
InLurgan/ Craigavonone STARS mentee was inspired to share a piece around mental health (following the Mindskills training facilitated by STARS), the STARS mentor is working with this individual to write a piece for CRJI’s website to share their opinion on the power of restorative practices. Whilst another STARS participant (PSNI officer) has been developing an information sharing document between CRJI and PSNI in Lurgan and Craigavon which will help to provide a clear structure for joint restorative working.
InNorth Belfast four STARS mentees are completing volunteer inductions and completing their Access NI checks, so that they can begin supporting cases within the area. In both North and West Belfast, STARS participants (youth workers) completed TTT to support them to deliver CRJI’s endorsed OCN “Choices and Consequences with Youth”, which they can then deliver with their groups of young people, this took place on the 16.10.20 and CRJI are sharing all their resources and materials for this course.
InWest Belfast, three mentees completed tour of the office to see how referrals are processed and how this process varies if it is a self-referral. When talking through cases this raised the topic of different and flexible restorative approaches; this then developed into a Q&A sessions which mentees commented “I love how it isn’t a rigid or set in stone process, its flexibility adds to its strength and people are more likely to respond to it because of that”.
NOVEMBER CRJI STARS
InDerrytraining has also been ongoing with STARS participants attending further training with a mixed cohort and commenced the OCN Level 3 Understanding Theories of Restorative Justice within a community setting on the 11.11.20, 18.11.20 and 25.11.20. One participant requested that STARS staff meet with the young people they work with; to talk about Community Restorative Justice. STARS mentors completed an awareness raising session with the youth group on the 10.11.20, feedback was so positive that they requested that STARS mentors return the following week. STARS mentors completed an in-depth Q&A workshop with the youth group on the 17.11.20 and explored future restorative work.
InLurgan/Craigavonarea, STARS participants and staff took part in a social media workshop on the 12.11.20, which looked at ways you could effectively capture restorative work and control and manage discussion around this (the community highlighted the need for this given the level of backlash some participants were receiving following their engagement in CIT funded projects). STARS mentor has also been working closely with STARS participants and developing linkages with schools and PSNI to create a drop-in support service facilitated by restorative CRJI practitioners, illustrating the appetite for this work.
InWest Belfasttraining has been ongoing, with 9 STARS participants (based in educational settings) attending the Restorative Justice Conference Training, (over 5 days) facilitated by Restorative Justice 4 Schools. STARS mentor has been developing cross community links with restorative schools, to support learning around how this work has been implemented by other schools.
InNorth BelfastSTARS participants and staff attended intensive 3 day TCI training (25.11.20-27.11.20), to support understanding around how individuals in crisis can be de-escalated, how the environment can be managed to prevent this occurring and so forth, particularly relevant within mediation scenarios.
InLurgan/ Craigavonthis month STARS mentor worked alongside STARS participants to create restorative family packs and resources which were distributed at an information session, these packs included activities to help aid communication and encourage family time alongside tips to improve family harmony and manage conflict and included information around restorative family workshops scheduled to take place in the New Year. Training has been ongoing in December alongside restorative resilience sessions for specific STARS participants.
InNorth BelfastSTARS participants completed the final session of the OCN Level 3 Training and a number of STARS participants completed the Restorative Practice Facilitation Skills course facilitated by Restorative Now, this took place over 5 days and covered a range of modules including emotional literacy, restorative enquiry questions, neuroscience of shame and the power of empathy, restorative circles, etc. Feedback from this was positive and further individuals have booked onto this course next year.
InWest BelfastSTARS mentor has been working closely with STARS participants to look at experiential learning and organise a learning trip and site visit to another restorative school. Mentor has been establishing connections and liaising with STARS participants to organise this and create further opportunities for learning.
InDerrySTARS participants completed the final session of the OCN Level 3 Training and mentors completed planning sessions with one STARS cohort for a restorative youth workshop and trip scheduled to take place on the 25.1.21 at Jungle NI to look at communication, effectively engaging in dialogue and managing conflict.
STARS has continued delivering training and restorative resources throughout January and February to participants and have been spreading the word of Restorative Practices to an even wider audience. This project launched in February 2020 and although initially was only contracted for a 12-month period was due to be extended until August of this year; however, this is entirely dependent on funding. CRJI are passionate advocates of restorative justice and believe that this is essential within our communities for peacebuilding and transition and hope that the importance of this work continues to be recognised and funded accordingly.