When Polmont Parenting Unit met the Gambling Hub

July 3, 2024

Donna was delighted to join The Parenting Unit, earlier this year, based within Polmont HMP/YOI. Find out more about our experiences of working together.

The Parenting Unit is based within Polmont HMP/YOI. We offer group work, individual and practical sessions to enable young fathers and mothers to maximise their parenting skills, bond with their children, learning and development.

The materials used offer information on baby and child development, attachment theory (five to thrive), experiential learning including; play, nursery rhymes, storytelling, routines and boundaries and much more.  The core programme is about helping parents understand the positive role they can play in their child’s life. The focus of the programme will be to help them work with their own circumstances and do the best they can for their child.

Our Courses include a nine week “Parenting Matters” core programme, Expectant group, Rolling group (motional, directive, fun, health and emotional sessions all directly linked to parenting) and Brew and Blether. One to one support is given to all parents – as and when required, this can include information/advice and support for children’s hearings, panels, reviews, pre-birth planning meetings, case conferences and adoption/kinship/fostering processes.

Parents can also be given one to one course sessions if they are unable to manage in a group setting. Induction is given to every newly convicted person in Polmont for awareness of parenting. If I were a Dad is a co-designed film-based educational resource designed to be delivered to young men over approximately eight weeks in custodial settings to build relationships for rehabilitation and future fatherhood as well as a prevent group to give information and advice about the responsibilities of being a parent, contraception and positive sexual relationships.

I first met Donna from the Gambling Hub at a child protection training course pre-covid and asked for her details as I thought gambling was something I would like further training on and that could be implemented and delivered in our activities areas within Polmont.

I then attended online training in Sep 2021 “Gambling and Trauma Training (Online Webinar) Hidden in plain sight” and afterwards passed on details to other colleagues and asked for some resource booklets for young people in the meantime. I asked for future dates for a session with our parents which could be led by Fast Forward (the subject experts).  With appropriate staff and resources, we managed to have a productive TEAMS chat in March 24 and share some ideas how we could progress in working together and Donna suggested a two hour (train the trainer) webinar for staff I had identified – Understanding Gambling Harms and the Links to Gaming Training Outline- Staff Session. 

I arranged for six members of staff from relevant areas to attend the train the trainer session (Community safety, Life skills, Here and Now trauma service, Job centre and Employability as well as Parenting), we attended virtually on 15th Aril 2024. Another session was arranged to be delivered to five dads in our rolling group on 18th April with a youth work colleague of Donna’s identified for delivery. Unfortunately the youth worker fell ill, and was unable to attend, however we asked if we could be sent the session outline as our young dads had already watched the video “trust me” as the first part of the learning. Donna kindly sent the teacher action pack and session plans and we were able to deliver this in class.

The young people responded well to this, they were able to share their own experiences of gambling and speak about friends and family members who are problem gamblers as well as the impact that this has had on their lives, namely mental health and relationships.

The training for staff will benefit those in our care as gambling will be openly discussed and planned structured sessions delivered to support and advice.  The Toolkit provided by the Scottish Gambling Education Hub will be invaluable in supporting this work.

“Thank you to Fast Forward for the training, ongoing support and session plans/action packs.”

Kirsty Docherty – The Parenting Unit


polmont pic