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Stuart benefits from a volunteer's support

8 June 2016

A service user has gained confidence to deal with his own problems, thanks to the support of one of our volunteers.

Stuart a 19 year old man with ADHD, Asperger’s and anxiety issues who used cannabis as a way to cope, was referred to Darren one of our volunteers by a member of our Resettlement Team in the prison. They felt that he could benefit from having a volunteer for general support in the community when he was released.

Stuart had been in trouble quite a bit but this was the first serious offence with a custodial sentence and the team felt that he would benefit from a mentor to provide a positive support model and help prevent him from getting stuck in an offending cycle.

Darren began meeting with Stuart whilst he was in HMP Elmley in order to build rapport and better understand him.

Darren felt Stuart was going to be challenging to work with as he initially presented as loud and difficult but he also recognised that this was Stuart’s way of managing with a great deal of anxiety that he was feeling in life

Darren met with Stuart at the probation offices on the day of his release and with the probation supervisor agreed the aims of the mentoring relationship. Stuart was very isolated and one of the aims was to help him connect with community groups where he could meet other young people. Stuart was interested in boxing so Darren helped him access a local boxing club.

As Darren and Stuart’s relationship developed it became clearer to Darren that Stuart had an ongoing difficult relationship with his mother with whom he lived. This escalated to the point where it was no longer safe for them to live together and Darren assisted Stuart to access emergency accomodation through the council. Stuart found it difficult to manage on his own so Darren found he had to do a lot of work around motivating Stuart to develop healthy routines and also with budgeting and finance.

Stuart began to recognise that he didn’t want to be around his old associates who were still involved in drug taking and had by this stage developed the confidence to approach the council himself to ask to be moved out of the area.

Darren now hears from Stuart via the telephone once a week. He is doing really well.

Stuart has grown massively in confidence, making his own doctor’s appointments and managing his life. He has been out of prison for six months and has recently been connecting with family he has not spoken to for many years. They will hopefully be able to provide the supportive network he will need to continue to be drug-free.

Photo posed by a model*

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