Scottish minister meets former drugs users in visit to Dundee

© DC Thomson
Justice Secretary Michael Mathieson visits TCA.

Offender mentoring services are set to receive a £3.4 million funding, justice secretary Michael Matheson announced during a visit to Dundee.

Among the schemes to benefit from the cash is Tayside Council on Alcohol (TCA), which supports those who struggle with substance abuse and are on community sentences and other court orders.

Mr Matheson visited the TCA offices to meet the management, mentors  and some of the people being helped  to turn their lives around and beat  addictions.

The announcement comes just days after a man was found unconscious on the stairs of Bell Street car park with a needle beside him, sparking debate about what needs to be done to prevent drug abuse.

Mr Matheson insisted the TCA could play a vital role in helping people to curb their addiction – and related issues.

“One-to-one mentoring has been shown to turn people away from crime by helping them address practical or personal problems, such as relationship issues, accessing housing or healthcare, or finding training or work,” he said.

“Supporting people to overcome these challenges can stop them  offending in the future.

“The partnership we’ve developed here in the Tayside area is proving to be very successful and that’s why we’re pledging an extra £3.4 million to a range of mentoring services across the country including to here in Dundee.”

The schemes in line to receive the funding include Shine, a national  service for women leaving prison, on remand or struggling to complete  community sentences; New Routes, a national service for men leaving prison; Moving On, which supports young men leaving HMP Polmont; and TCA.

TCA has delivered mentoring services for the past 10 years, including a women-only mentoring service for women on court orders since 2010.

The organisation will receive £155,635 of the £3.4m funding in 2017-18.

Kathryn baker, interim director of TCA said: “Our community-based  mentoring service has made a real  difference to the lives of women and young men seeking to break the cycle of reoffending.”