Shamshi Ahmed Case Officer, Sova Connect East of England Expand What do you enjoy about working for Sova? I love working with the service users and volunteers, they all come from different walks of life and they have given me detailed insights of their journeys. The volunteers we have working on our projects are simply superb, their contribution and passion go a long way and they truly make positive differences to the vulnerable services users we support. How do you feel the work benefits those you work with? A lot of the services users I support in custody and in the community have experienced traumatic childhood, chaotic lives and have low self – esteem, I like to get my hands stuck in and help them as much as I can so that they gain some confidence from the mentoring sessions before release and in the community. Also engaging the service users in the community through offering advice, information and guidance I feel that they benefit from the one to one sessions preparing them for jobs through CV writing, mock interviews, job searches, disclosures and confidence building, and helping them with other issues such as benefits, housing and simple things like managing money and budgeting. At the end of their time with me and the volunteers the service users feel supported and confident with Sova, which is reassuring and rewarding therefore motivates me and the volunteers more. If you could tell people about the work you do or the impact Sova has, what would you say? I believe Sova’s front line staff and volunteers are important advocates for raising the profile of Sova. Seeing the service users gain confidence and appreciating the support they receive from offender mentor volunteers and staff is a wonderful feeling and service users are always grateful and thankful. I thoroughly enjoy supporting volunteers and service users and it is extremely rewarding knowing that I have helped them. What is your proudest moment working for Sova? Supporting volunteers to celebrate their contributions and achievements through Sova National Volunteer Celebration events, and Volunteer Week events in June each year. Both events recognises volunteer’s effort and hard work supporting services users and how they have impacted positively on the lives of many service users, it’s an amazing feeling! The one that stands out the most is celebrating Sova’s 40th Birthday with volunteers and services users at the House of Lords in July 2015! The volunteer on my project loved it and felt that she’s an important person in Sova, this was wonderful to witness as that was her proudest moment!