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Experience of volunteer Aron

Personal stories: 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 John’s 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.

It was a bit strange at first, having someone you’ve just been introduced to talk about the darkest period of their life and to be met with the guilt and embarrassment John felt. But he just needed someone to support him– as many other service users do.

As a volunteer, I could reach out to him, be his point of contact, offer him advice or guidance, or just have a chat.

Service users can access many different types of support from their Probation Officer, courses and helplines, but  sometimes it is the simple things they need – just having someone who can listen to them at a time when they need it.

During the time I worked with John, I helped him access available services so he could secure suitable accommodation, manage his finances and address issues with his social skills and depression. This support also helped John get back into employment.

I also helped to bring a different perspective and knowledge to our conversations, which helped John solve various issues and supported him to make positive non-offending choices.

In 2016, John started volunteering himself by getting involved with User Voice – a charity which helps foster dialogue between service providers and service users and is mutually beneficial. He has started living independently in his own place and whilst he is still on a personal journey of change, I have greatly enjoyed being part of it and seeing the progress he has made. 

*The name of the service user has been changed