I had finished playing professional football and decided to go to university to pursue a career in Criminology. I quickly became interested in offending behaviour and the barriers that offenders face in attempting to steer clear of crime, and wanted to support my studies through volunteering. I researched a number of charities and when I came across Sova I knew instantly that this was the right one for me – the perfect match.
The training I received equipped me with the tools and knowledge I needed to mentor clients on a 1-to-1 basis. Each client is an individual, which means no two meetings are ever the same. I currently see clients both in the prison and in the community, each setting presenting different challenges for them and for me to support them with.
The most common issues my clients need assistance with are: financial support (completing benefit forms and setting up bank accounts), securing accommodation upon release, obtaining identification, remembering appointments with other agencies and being signposted to other support agencies who can assist in specific areas, such as mental health or drug and alcohol addiction. Each task is important, but I truly believe that the most important support I give, which has the biggest impact, is simply being there to discuss their concerns and help them find a way through their problems. The clients often come from hectic environments, so being there for them when they have no one else to turn to feels like the most valuable thing I can give.