A unique event is being held in Cleveland this autumn to encourage local people to consider volunteering in the criminal justice sector.
The Criminal Justice Volunteer Fair will take place in Middlesbrough on 14 October. It will be a special volunteer recruitment event which is being championed by the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.
The PCC is bringing together organisations such as Victim Support, My Sisters Place, The Probation Service, the Prince’s Trust, and Cleveland Police amongst others for this special event.
The day will show how volunteers already make an impact in the criminal justice service as well as highlighting volunteering opportunities in the Cleveland area.
Anyone over the age of 18 can come along and find out more about criminal justice services in the Cleveland area and how they can become actively involved.
The event will take place in the Clarendon Building at Teesside University between 10am and 2pm and is open to the public as well as students. It will be a unique opportunity to speak in person with representatives from over 20 criminal justice organisations under one roof.
Volunteering in the criminal justice service involves individuals from every part of the community, who bring their skills and experience to assist in delivering essential services to victims of crime and their families.
The volunteers are regarded as the valuable link between the criminal justice service and local communities, and help local organisations deliver a first-class criminal justice system that links into the wider community.
Voluntary roles within the service are varied, ranging from Magistrates, to administrative functions within busy office environments, offering practical support and guidance to victims of crime and policing the front line as a Special Constable with Cleveland Police.
One of these existing volunteers is Louise Smith. She volunteers with the My Sisters Place, which is an independent Middlesbrough based ‘One Stop Shop’ for women aged 16 or over have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence, and is backing the initiative.
Louise, who is 32 and from Stockton, has been volunteering there for around 15 months and helps support the organisation by raising awareness of it at local community events and providing support to local women at court hearings.
She said: “Volunteering with My Sisters Place is really rewarding and I really hope that the Cleveland Volunteer Fair encourages more people across Cleveland to get involved. The beauty of this event is there will be something for everyone – whether you are looking to get some experience to help your career development or just want to give something back to the local community. I’m looking forward to it.”
Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, said: “The Criminal Justice Volunteer Fair will be the first of its type anywhere in England. It will bring together all these different organisations that do such an important job to support victims, families and communities and I would urge anyone considering a career in the criminal justice system to come along to Teesside University on 14th October to find out more.”
He added: “Volunteering is a great way to develop your skills, gain valuable experience and impress employers. The criminal justice sector in Cleveland employs thousands of people and presents real career opportunities for people with skills and experience in areas as diverse as IT, counselling, administration, foreign languages and lots more.”
Special Constable Chris Chapman said: “I’ve been a special for three years and it really shows you a different side of life. It’s hard work and involves a lot of responsibility but I’d recommend it to anyone because it opens up a whole load of new opportunities. My ultimate ambition is to get a job with the police so this is a great stepping stone for me.”
Special Constable Andrew Holliday, who has also been a special since 2010, added: “The way specials are used has changed in recent years and you really are part of the police team. I wanted to be part of something and the sense of achievement you get when you are able to help people is the best feeling in the world.”
Michael Lavery, Director of External Relations at Teesside University, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Criminal Justice Volunteer Fair and look forward to welcoming a wide range of influential organisations and ambitious volunteers to the Teesside University campus.
“Volunteering enriches and enhances people’s knowledge, expertise and career prospects and is something we actively promote at Teesside University.”
The unique event is a national pilot scheme which is being supported by the Home Office and could be rolled out across the country if it is successful.
Click here for more information about Criminal Justice Volunteer Fair.
Posted on Friday 20th September 2013