Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie has paid tribute to the work of the charity Sacro in Moray, which provides a supported accommodation service for vulnerable young people, helping them develop the practical and social skills for independent living. Mr Finnie visited the charity’s Covesea Road facility last Friday (8 January) and met with Sacro staff Paolo Mazzoncini, Kelly Smart and Kathleen Donaldson.
Mr Finnie is a former police officer and the Scottish Green Party’s national spokesperson on justice. He said:
“Many young people face serious barriers to building the stable, secure adult life they deserve, *not least regarding obtaining suitable accommodation. Some have poor literacy or don’t know how to use a computer, some have addictions or other medical problems, some may not know how to find and manage a tenancy or pay bills.
When these are the underlying problems, threats of benefit sanctions or harsh punishments for offending won’t improve matters, but professional and compassionate help does.
The support that Sacro in Moray provides transforms lives. The staff here help people find homes, jobs, healthcare, education and, most of all, self-respect and independence.
Young people in need are seen as nothing but a burden by the UK Government, which has slashed their social security safety net more than any other group’s, and is threatening to scrap benefits for young people altogether.
When some inevitably then offend, the Westminster approach is to commit to locking more and more young people up. In Scotland, we have the ability to take a different path. Our justice system should be focussed on approaches like Sacro’s that genuinely reduce crime by understanding and tackling problems that increase the risk of offending, not indulging in ‘tough-guy’ posturing.
I’m very grateful to the team at Sacro for the vital work they do to help people turn their lives around and to reduce crime. I wish them the very best for 2016.”
Photo: John Finnie MSP with Sacro staff at the charity’s office in Elgin. Left-Right: Kathleen Donaldson (Sacro), John Finnie MSP, Kelly Smart (Manager, Sacro Elgin Young Persons’ Accommodation), Paolo Mazzoncini (Director of Operations (East), Sacro).