AN AWARD-WINNING restorative justice and arts project in the islands has been granted independent charitable status.
Space2face, co-founded by Clair Aldington and Alyson Halcrow in 2008, is launching the project in its new form to celebrate international restorative justice week having been confirmed as a Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO).
In April this year, space2face won the criminal justice category of the restorative practices UK awards at a ceremony in London.
The project was previously run as a partnership between Shetland Arts and the community mediation team.
Its new independent status means the project is able to apply for funding in its own right, which the founders and trustees hope will make its future more sustainable. Space2face is unique in the UK in using gifts of artwork and creativity as part of restorative justice.
Clair and Alyson will continue to manage the project, and in addition there are three local founding trustees for the new charity.
Space2face trustee and chairman Donald Anderson said: “It is a privilege and very exciting to work so closely with this creative and dynamic project, and to be a founder member of a new SCIO.
“I know that there is a huge potential here to really support people in making an enormous difference, to individuals, families and the communities they live in.
“I look forward to working with the staff and trustees in order to develop and grow a groundbreaking approach to restorative justice practice.”
Trustee and treasurer Hilde Bardell is also a former client of space2face, and says of her family’s experience: “The whole process was more helpful than we could have imagined; restorative and just for both persons harmed and person responsible.
“The gift that was made for us through space2face was particularly appropriate, and is still in use and valued today.”
Former deputy head of Sandwick School Pat Ash is the third founding trustee and holds the role of secretary. Ana Arnett and Amy Fisher, local artists who have been trained by the project, continue to work with space2face.
Restorative justice is a voluntary process which has gained an increased profile in the media over the last decade. It can involve victims choosing to meet with offenders.
It aims to include everyone involved in a situation of harm or conflict in making decisions about the future.
Space2face points out that a “popular misconception is that it is about reconciliation and forgiveness”. Those things may happen, but they are not the aim of restorative justice: it is to enable everyone involved to reach an agreement on “how best to move on in a safer way from a situation of conflict or harm”.
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