Synaptic is the name of this new and innovative partnership between North East Autism Society – Thornbeck College and HMYOI Deerbolt. The name and logo for this partnership was designed by prisoners who work in the design and print shop at HMYOI Deerbolt. The aim of this partnership is to share expertise and resources to further meet the needs of prisoners with autism, learning difficulties and, or disabilities in custody.

The clear focus for North East Autism Society’s work, and the basis for its reputation, is the provision of a wide range of services for individuals with autism, learning difficulties and, or disabilities. Our character is built on a known specialism and it is this specialism that has enabled us to maintain a strong strategic position in the North East of England. We continue to operate as a key strategic player working in collaboration with others, including working with local authorities to develop and deliver local strategies. We have an excellent track record of sharing our expertise with others, which has led to an increase in staff capacity and capability in the region where delivering or supporting individuals with autism.

HMYOI Deerbolt holds in custody men aged between 18 and 22 years, primarily from the North East and Yorkshire and Humberside. We look after young people with challenges including; educational, medical, and social and substance misuse problems. Poor coping in custody prevents young people from; engaging in activities, gaining qualifications, undertaking offending behaviour programmes and thinking about and planning for a positive future. Of the young men in custody it is known that between 20 – 30% have learning difficulties or difficulties that interfere with their ability to cope. HMYOI Deerbolt has robust systems in place to manage crisis behaviour; self- harm, violence, withdrawal from socialising, damage to property but our intention is to prevent these. We do this by assessing, supporting and communicating with young people with disabilities or learning difficulties and working with them to prevent crisis. We encourage engagement in custody to reduce the likelihood of re-offending. We all know that every contact matters and we all want to make a positive difference with our prisoners. The training and partnership work with experts from the North East Autism Society will help us to recognise and work positively with our prisoners who have learning difficulties or communication difficulties.

Thornbeck College is an Independent Specialist College which forms part of North East Autism Society’s post 16 provision. We have developed sustainable partnerships with schools, colleges, work based learning providers, care providers, housing associations, employers and local communities which have led to outstanding outcomes for individuals with autism, learning difficulties and, or disabilities.

Our College Tutors are now delivering training into HMYOI Deerbolt and we will continue to work together to further develop this fantastic partnership.

North East Autism Society- Thornbeck College will:

  • Provide services which will benefit individuals in custody and will include;
  • Assessment and support strategies
  • Communication strategies
  • Sensory strategies
  • Information formats
  • Staff training (quality assured by Northumbria University)
  • Quality – progress impact measures

HMYOI Deerbolt plan to share resources and provide:

  • Provision of design and cost price promotional material from the print shop
  • Provision of PAT testing
  • Provision of welding any metal repairs or sculptures
  • Taskforce projects
  • Subject specialist vocational expertise 

This partnership is the first of its kind within the region and will have a major impact for both providers.

Pictured: (l-r) Ian Begg, Head of Safety and Admissions at HMYOI Deerbolt, Gabrielle Lee, Governing Governor at HMYOI Deerbolt, Christine Dempster, Director of Education at NEAS, John Phillipson, CEO at NEAS

For more information about the partnership please contact Thornbeck College on 01325 328 088