Volunteer role reaps rewards

Volunteer role reaps reward

 ALISON Jarvis is one of 40 volunteers who support people on probation to help them turn their lives around.

The mum-of-three, from Liverpool, developed an interest while completing a Community Order in 2011 following a first time offence.
Alison volunteers with the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (M CRC) at Kirkdale’s Womens Turnaround Centre.
She said: “My probation officer encouraged me to do art classes, which I initially thought was daft, but as I got involved I really enjoyed it.
“More than that though, I loved meeting the women offenders participating in the group and on a programme I completed. We all got along fantastically well.
“I’d come from a privileged background. It was a shock to me. Quite a few had dual addictions, had experienced periods of care, and it made me realise how lucky I am.
“Some had harrowing stories and it was clear how much help they needed.”
Alison was encouraged to become a volunteer by a probation officer and got in touch with M CRC’s Louise Ingram, a volunteer coordinator.
Alison’s role includes helping women sort out benefit claims, helping those in need to the foodbank if they are in receipt of food vouchers, helping arrange doctor appointments and supporting people wanting to enrol on courses.
She said: “I absolutely love it. You don’t always see your efforts rewarded, but when I can genuinely help a woman and see them develop it’s truly humbling.
“I feel sorry for people at the jobcentre because they have to do what they do, but sanctioning people who have chaotic lives and compounding their problems is really sad. We do what we can to help.”
Alison volunteers two days a week and wants to develop the role into a career.
She added: “The women who use the service are great, the staff are great and the centre is great. What more can I say?!”
Sharon Reddy, Network Developer for M CRC, praised Alison for her efforts.
She added: “Peer mentors are really valued and make such a difference to people’s lives. They bring a wealth of experience to their roles and are a credit to themselves.
“Alison is fantastic and her passion for probation really comes across in everything she does.”