“The people I met are extraordinary individuals because they all completed these courses to help them support others who have committed crime.”
SIX people who successfully completed probation have passed qualifications that enable them to peer mentor offenders.
The High Sheriff of Liverpool Jim Davies presented certificates to each of the course’s graduates at an event hosted by Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (MCRC).
MCRC created the course, which covers aspects of the criminal justice service, confidentiality and safeguarding, in conjunction with learning provider Novus.
Mr. Davies said: “The people I met are extraordinary individuals because they all completed these courses to help them support others who have committed crime.
“They are a powerful example of the stunning transformations people can make, and they have all spoken to me of the positive impact the course has had on them.
“It shows remarkable generosity of spirit that they now want to volunteer alongside probation colleagues to help others. I salute them all!”
It is the first time the scheme has been run. It was developed by MCRC’s Sharon Reddy and Louise Grzyb, is accredited by City and Guilds and is co-delivered with Novus.
Claire Booth was one of those to have collected the certificate. She is currently in the third year of a criminology and psychology degree at Liverpool Hope, having beaten the bottle following years of alcohol addiction.
She said: “I come from a decent family, but I got into a bad relationship with a drug user and I got into a spiral and ended up homeless. It was the end of my world.
“Probation was the best thing for me. In my eyes I had no excuse for what I had done. My experience made me realise how easy it is to get into a rut.”
Several years ago Claire, from Kensington, was sentenced to probation for being drunk and aggressive. Probation put Claire in contact with a range of services who untangled the problems that had developed during her dramatic decline.
She said: “Some people say probation is a bad thing. But probation helped me get a bed, that helped me get some self-respect back, and staff helped give me the direction I needed.
“Early on I breached my order. I missed appointments. I struggled to stop the drink. But they were very understanding because they could see I was trying. They treated me as a person.
“I entered rehab and came back to reality. It’s hard to explain what that feels like. Things like this course, and obviously, my degree, have given me focus.”
Claire’s ambition is to become a probation case manager. Her volunteer role includes carrying out inductions of offenders at MCRC.
Sharon, network developer, added: “All of the candidates worked extremely hard to get their qualification and I am thrilled that the High Sheriff chose to recognize their dedication by personally making the presentations.
“Volunteers provide an invaluable addition to probation. They can cross barriers that professionals may encounter, and can carry out a range of tasks that support our objective of protecting the community by reducing re-offending.”