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Volunteer

Volunteering for RECOOP

I first got involved RECOOP as a volunteer a couple of years ago when I saw a requirement within the local Teignbridge Volunteers web site for the Older Offenders Project at Channings Wood Prison. I had lived close by and often wondered when driving past the prison what life was like on the "other side of the fence”!

The project suited my lifestyle as I was unable to volunteer during working days - I work full time in Plymouth.

Having completed the training, I commenced I started a regular Monday evening quiz with the Group.  Nothing too challenging - just a good chance to get the guys together for some light hearted knowledge and trivia sharing.  I found the work very rewarding and it was pleasing to see that, over a period of months, some of the more quiet members of the group were gaining in confidence and seemed to be enjoying the evening sessions.

I trained as a RSPH presenter and, with the help of the RECOOP supervisor, started to get the group together to learn how to help themselves live healthier lives. By taking routine exercise (walks around the block), eating healthier food and analysing the personal health benefits - the prisoners soon realised that they could make choices in their lifestyles.

We are now hoping to develop this theme by holding basic cooking classes to help the guys learn how to look after themselves when released, rather than depend on help from others.  

Looking back over the past two years I have enjoyed the experience of working in a challenging and thought provoking environment.  I have seen a side of life that many people hear about but few get the opportunity, or have the inclination, to get involved in.  Volunteering in a prison environment enables you to come to terms with potential stereotypes and personal prejudices. The older prison population depend on voluntary groups such as RECOOP  to help them get integrated back into society when released.  Without that support it would be all too easy to re-offend just to get back into the routine of prison life.
 
  

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Monday, March 18th 2019
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RECOOP projects win Platinum Award 2014 & 2015