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Council work helps service user gain employment with another CRC

18 March 2016

A former drug addict has secured a paid job managing Service User Councils for another CRC after volunteering with ours gave him new skills and a confidence boost.

Fred, who was sentenced to a five-year custodial sentence for smuggling a car-full of drugs through the Port of Dover, spent a year volunteering as a council member of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Service User Council after his release from prison.

He attributes the council giving him the professional skills and confidence boost he needed to apply and eventually secure a job.

Fred said: “Even though I had a degree, when I was back in the community on licence, I struggled to build a new life and the burden of a criminal record made my efforts seem pointless. I worried what future, if any, I could hope for with a criminal record.

“Volunteering with the Service User Council gave me structure and a reason to get out of bed. It gave me something constructive to do and there was safety in knowing that others were working on the council with similar experiences to my own.”
Being released from prison was much harder than I’d expected but User Voice and KSS CRC have supported my rehabilitation every step of the way. Their encouragement has had a big hand in helping me move forward with my life and has given me the confidence and skills to secure a paid job.”

The Service User Council, organised by charity User Voice together with KSS CRC, provides a forum for service users and staff to meet and discuss how they can improve services.

If you would like to take part in the Service User Council and are currently on probation, talk to your probation supervisor about completing a referral form. For information about roles with User Voice to support the Service User Council’s work, click here.

To read Fred’s full personal story, click here.

*Fred's name has been changed to protect his identity

* Photo used is a stock image

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Experience of volunteer Aron

When I first met John*, he came across as being very shy and quiet. I attended an initial meeting where I met with Johnís Probation Officer and we agreed actions and goals for him to take to help aid his rehabilitation and tackle the issues that have led him to commit the crime in the first place.

The help of volunteer David

I was asked to work with Andrew* to help improve his self-esteem and decision making skills which led to his drug abuse. At our regular meetings, we explored solutions to his issues and obstacles to his future aspirations. Slowly through this work, his perceptions about himself began to change from feelings of guilty and helplessness, to being able to acknowledge his own personal strengths and attributes.