VOLUNTEERS who provide invaluable support to Wigan probation were awarded certificates in recognition of their work.
A total of 17 people offer support to Greater Manchester Probation Trust’s staff based in the borough, carrying out a range of tasks from helping to deliver accredited programmes through to working at the Women’s Supervision Centre and Men’s Project, as well as participating in out-reach projects.
As part of the initiative the volunteers are enrolled in a course - run by the Open College Network - which is funded by the borough’s Drugs And Alcohol Treatment team.
The course focuses on working with offenders and is linked with the UCLAN and Manchester Metropolitan universities, providing a chance for students to gain experience while studying for a career in criminal justice.
Brian Worthington volunteers for the borough’s Spotlight team, which includes carrying out Community Payback shadowing and work at the borough’s courts.
He got involved after undertaking a substance misuse course hosted by a charity called Bridging the Gap.
He said: “I like supporting others which I think is partly because I’ve seen a lot of domestic violence.
“My father was a violent alcoholic and two brothers are also alcoholics as a consequence.
“I did the course to help me come to terms with the fact my brother was told he had six to 12 months to live. I wanted to learn more about how he’d arrived at that position as a result of drink.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help the Spotlight team, it’s an exceptional group, brilliant people and it’s a challenge.”
John Pilkington has been volunteering for 18 months and supports staff delivering accredited programmes aimed at addressing offending behaviour.
He said: “Volunteering has given my confidence a terrific boost and it’s improved my CV.
“As a result I’ve got a job with crime reduction charity NACRO, working with youngsters and am able to employ the learning I have acquired to do my bit to ensure the next generation do not come through with the same problems.”
Wigan probation officer Yvonne O’Mara, who co-ordinates the volunteers, said: “I am proud of our volunteers, of their commitment to their work and the professional way in which they carry out their tasks.
“They contribute to the reduction of re-offending in the borough and show a great deal of enthusiasm,
“The scheme also helps the volunteers get valuable practical experience to compliment what they have learned in an academic setting.”