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“Working ‘with’ people not ‘to’ or ‘for’ them” – Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership

Case study

Published
3rd July 2018
Topic
What is a co-op?
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Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership

Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership (WRAP) is a co-op that makes a difference to families, communities and organisations. Using ‘restorative’ training and consultancy, they work with groups to build, maintain and repair relationships.

And it’s no surprise that WRAP is a co-op, as the ‘restorative’ approach they use has much in common with the co-op ethos.

As Chief Executive Julia Houlston Clark explains:

“Restorative training involves using simple techniques and practical co-operative skills to make sure all members have their voice heard. It’s extremely effective in ensuring everyone has an equal voice in decision making. We have worked with groups through all sectors of society and paved the way for constructive, transparent communications across all abilities and ages.”

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“The key role of trainers and practitioners using the restorative approach is to work ‘with’ people not ‘to’ or ‘for’ them.”
– Julia Houlston, Chief Executive, Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership

From core listening and communication skills to confidence building, conflict resolution, mediation and co-operative decision making, WRAP’s comprehensive training helps all kind of people in all kinds of ways.  

“We’ve trained whole school communities across Wales to work together to resolve issues and make decision collaboratively, including training pupils as peer mentors and mediators. And we worked with a university tackling race based incidents affecting the whole community, to bring affected parties together.”

Cadwyn Housing Association in Cardiff is another organisation WRAP has worked with – to adopt a more progressive approach to supporting its tenants. Supported Housing Manager Phil Richardson explains how WRAP’s training has made a difference to them:

“Our supported housing schemes that house homeless families in Cardiff started to implement the restorative approach. We conducted restorative meetings with families where it helped articulate their needs, leading to better support.”

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We started making changes to how we support families – and found we were doing ‘for’ or ‘to’ the families. This started changing to doing ‘with’ families, leading them to being more independent and able to cope with things better.
– Phil Richardson, Supported Housing Manager, Cadwyn Housing Association
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Cadwyn Housing Association
Cadwyn Housing Association received expert support from WRAP

Becci, a support worker with the housing association, couldn’t agree more.

“Support work is almost like you’re the rescuer. You’ve gone in and waved your magic wand and everything’s been sorted out. The reality is that isn’t helping them develop the skills they need to survive. Restorative practice is by far the best tool I’ve ever come across. It places the emphasis on the relationship building – you let people know from the start that your intention is to do things with them and not to do things for them.”

The training Becci received from WRAP has made a big difference to Sira, a Cadwyn resident she has supported. Sira explains why:

“I haven’t experienced support like this before. I’ve been pushed towards doing things myself, which is really good because when I move into my own place they won’t be here to support me and I need to do a lot of things on my own.”

“When I had a support worker outside of here, I used to put a lot of things on her to save myself doing it, which is not a good thing really because you really need to sort yourself out, as well as having help.”

More about Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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