Scotmid has launched a new collaborative pilot programme designed to help people involved in crime to make positive life changes.

Project RISE (Recovering In a Supported Environment) will be initially piloted in Leith and has been designed to proactively intervene and support those living in the local community by encouraging them to avoid potential criminal situations, suggesting alternative choices and signposting individuals to support services.

The scheme will work in partnership with several organisations including Cyrenians, Turning Point, Link-Up, Connecting Circles and Police Scotland. As a ‘restorative practice intervention’, it will be used as an alternative engagement model to provide solutions to a recurring problem. If successful, Scotmid hopes the programme will be rolled out across other areas of the city, where additional resources and support would help make a difference.

Project RISE project manager at Scotmid Nick McGuirk said: “As a retailer based in the heart of our communities, we are in a fortunate position to be able to identify and reach some of the most vulnerable people in our local areas. We’re pleased to work collaboratively with some fantastic charities to ensure we can support as many people as possible, helping them to make more positive life choices.”

Carmen McShane, Scotland Service Manager of Turning Point, said: “It has never been so important to make mainstream services more accessible for those who suffer from alcohol and other drug use.

“Accessing support and treatment can be a protective factor in reducing overdose, therefore, outreach work in Leith, and other local communities like this, is vital if we want to prevent drug-related deaths. I’m so pleased to work with Scotmid, Connecting Circles, Cyrenians and Link Up in this initiative to deliver the support to people in our community who need it.”

A spokesperson for Police Scotland added: “Police Scotland is looking forward to working alongside our partners in this pilot programme, designed to make positive changes for those who require support and help. We hope the programme will expand its work to other areas, so that people can avoid potentially dangerous circumstances, whilst flourishing in their communities.”