Meet Darren, one of our volunteer mentors

Anyone who is able to spare some time, is dedicated and willing to learn would make a great volunteer.

I’ve been volunteering as a mentor with Pact since August 2017. It’s a great role because it combines my interest in the criminal justice system with my belief in giving something back to society. By far the best part of the role is working with service users in the community, and I agree with all of Pact’s values, so I feel like I am making a positive contribution.

As a volunteer every day is different – other than my horrible commute from Brighouse to anywhere in West Yorkshire! I usually meet service users at HMP Leeds as this is the nearest male prison to me, and then we start working together on getting them settled back into the community. This could involve finding housing, starting benefits claims online or starting bank accounts, among lots of other things. It’s always a good feeling when we are able to get somebody a home, and help make their surroundings a bit more stable. Every achievement is a small step towards resettlement.

I found the training very helpful in preparing me for the role. Pact gave me induction training and then some opportunities to shadow other mentors which was really useful. I’ve also got my own phone which has enabled me to volunteer a lot more efficiently and makes things a lot easier. Pact also provide continued support and I have regular supervisions where I can talk through my cases and anything that I found challenging.

The amount of time I volunteer varies depending on how many cases I have and the support they need but I’d say I have around 38 cases in a month. Volunteering has taught me patience and helped me develop my networking skills because I’m liaising with lots of different agencies.

Anyone who is able to spare some time, is dedicated and willing to learn would make a great volunteer. Volunteering with Pact is a great way to give back. You can help people transition back into the community by helping them deal with challenging situations, but you also get to work alongside other great volunteers. Pact is a good and honest charity to volunteer for because they really care.

If you want to find out more about Darren's role or if you have any questions about volunteering with Pact, get in touch with us on [email protected].