Probation volunteers to rehabilitate criminals

Volunteer mentors: from the left, Shaun Allison, Samara Leach, Marlene Botelho, Noreen Mir, Sarah Ambler and Bryony Quayle
Volunteer mentors: from the left, Shaun Allison, Samara Leach, Marlene Botelho, Noreen Mir, Sarah Ambler and Bryony Quayle

A SQUAD of volunteers have signed up for a pioneering scheme to stop people falling into a life of crime.

The team of 15 all answered a call by Voluntary Action Calderdale to become mentors for Calderdale Probation Trust.

After intensive training, they have now graduated, and will support offenders sentenced to intensive community orders in a bid to stop them committing more crime.

Their help will include integrating offenders back into the community, such as helping them access training and education.

Manager of the project, Nasim Akhttar, said each mentor will be matched to an offender whose needs best meet their skills.

“Some of the volunteers have specialised skills, such as debt counselling,” she explained.

“We’ve had a really good response from people wanting to be involved. We’ll be recruiting again next year.”

The volunteers are of different ages and from various walks of life.

Noreen Mir, 25, said she got involved because she was interested in the field of probation and was most looking forward to the one-to-one mentoring sessions.

Marlene Botelho, 21, said: “It’s good to know that we’ll be supporting someone who really needs help.”

Intensive community orders became a sentencing option in August. They are an alternative to custody for offenders who could be sentenced to less than 12 months in prison.