Rachel's story

I have always had an interest in criminal behavior, particularly with regards to mental health and the contributing psycho-sociological factors, and became involved with Sova whilst studying for a BA (Hons) Psychosocial degree. 
Having had a difficult time growing up and seeing many of my friends lose complete control of their lives, and fail to find their way back, I decided to use my own experiences to help people who have been forgotten by society - 
I wanted to make a difference. 
Since starting with Sova I have become passionate about the charity and what it stands for. It provides innovative ways of supporting some of the most complex people and provides a patient and caring service to individuals who sometimes need a 2nd, 3rd or 4th chance before they make it.
I am a volunteer mentor and I provide tailored support to ex-offenders. The help is offered on a 1:1 basis and is specific to each individual’s needs, be it by providing advice and support with benefits or job applications, or simply by being there to listen. Many of the clients I have supported have felt lost and just by giving them an opportunity to open up, without judgment, can be the start to breaking down the barriers they face. With some general direction, many clients are able to start helping themselves and regain the confidence needed to tackle the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. 
As well as 1:1 support, I spend a lot of time with my colleagues in and out of the office, getting to know the charity and helping out where I can. Recently I have been attending ice hockey club with my clients that led to me attending a sports leadership course with them where we all have the opportunity to learn something new. Most importantly, it has given our clients a chance to engage with us in a fun environment, make friends, work as a team and have another reason to feel good about themselves.