Volunteers have contributed more than 9,311 hours of their own time over the past year to help some of Cleveland’s most vulnerable residents.
Now they are looking for more Cleveland residents to join them as part of the Police and Crime Commissioner-funded Appropriate Adults service.
Between January and December 2021, Appropriate Adults supported 1,560 people in custody and attended 2,298 separate call outs.
Newly-released figures show that volunteers who worked face-to-face with detainees in police custody throughout the pandemic, took just 24 minutes to respond to a call.
Volunteers even responded to calls for help over Christmas and New Year period.
Between 20 December 2021 and 2 January 2022, Appropriate Adults were called out 93 times. They supported 67 people during call-outs with crimes of violence being the most common, which detainees faced.
Now the Appropriate Adults service, run by Middlesbrough and Stockton MIND and commissioned by Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), is looking for additional volunteers.
Appropriate Adults support vulnerable, local people with mental health problems, learning difficulties or substance misuse problems, who are detained in police custody.
Volunteers work on a rota basis with at least two volunteers available at any time of the day or night to make sure the service runs 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
MIND is eager to recruit at least 10 new volunteers willing to contribute at least six hours per week.
Organisers are particularly keen to hear from volunteers who would like to cover the night shift between 10pm and 4am.
Nicola Wass, 49, of Stockton-on-Tees, has 25 years’ experience in recruitment and management. She has been volunteering as an Appropriate Adult for the past eight months.
She feels that she’s “making a real difference” when she works with detainees.
Nicola said: “From the reception you get from the police and detainee at the station, you feel like you are providing a valuable service and making a real difference.
“I feel satisfied immediately that I have given something back and used my skills and experience to support someone.”
Andrea Atkinson, Appropriate Adult Volunteer Co-ordinator at Middlesbrough and Stockton MIND, said: “Volunteering as an Appropriate Adult is a really niche role. There aren’t many volunteering roles quite like this. You are seeing people at their most vulnerable and helping people who you may not necessarily help in normal circumstances.
“Potential volunteers must be able to commit to at least one shift of five to six hours per week.”
PCC Steve Turner said “The team deliver a phenomenal service and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for continuing to dedicate their time to this service.
“The manner in which they’ve responded to the challenges of the pandemic has been impressive and selfless.
“This is a prime example of what can be achieved in partnership between the OPCC and local services to support Cleveland Police.”
For more information on volunteering, contact Andrea.firstname.lastname@example.org