Students at Liverpool John Moore’s University got the chance to learn about Interserve’s Interchange Model at an event run in conjunction with probation and User Voice.
Rosie Godwin, a community director at the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company, participated in the annual event with Kev O’Brien, from User Voice, at the university. It is the third time that they have run the lecture for criminology students based at the university.
Kev was a heroin addict who committed crime on a daily basis to help him feed his habit. He stopped offending seven years ago and is now part of User Voice, a charity committed to giving people with experience of the criminal justice system a powerful say in how services are developed.
The presentation Rosie and Ken made focused on Interserve’s Interchange Model, which is the company’s approach to supporting people who have offended to make positive changes. The Interchange Model focuses on an individual’s strengths, and is grounded in the latest and best research on what works to reduce re-offending.
Rosie said: “I love getting the opportunity to discuss our job with students because I am passionate about probation and the work we do to help people make positive changes to their lives.
“Kev is a fantastic illustration of the changes people can make. We do the lecture on a regular basis, which gives us the opportunity to discuss the Interchange Model and illustrate how it works in practice.”
After Rosie gave some context behind Interchange, she interviewed Kev about his progression through the system.
Kev said: “Being able to talk to students about my experiences, about how the Interchange Model works and how students are a part of that is something I thoroughly enjoy doing.
“I’ve come through a fight. I’ve overcome barriers. I had an addiction, I’d suffered mental abuse and I learnt that you can either be someone who carries on endorsing criminal activity or you can completely stop.
“The question is: how do you stay being stopped?!
“It’s tough. Initially I had no structure. I knew what I had to not do – I had to not see certain people and not go to certain places where triggers for my old behaviour could be found. I also had to fight boredom.”