I completed the Venture Trust Mentor Training with its partner, Move On Scotland in August 2016, and gained my Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) membership.
A typical day sees me shadowing Sharon, the Venture Trust Outreach Co-ordinator. I rise early to catch the train to Alloa from Camelon where, together, we meet Rachael* to discuss the plan set in place for her five-day Next Steps wilderness journey.
Next Steps is the programme specifically designed for women caught in the criminal justice system. With a wilderness journey at its heart, which can often be a turning point for positive change, the women are supported to reduce reoffending and offending behaviour, learn new life skills and work towards a more balanced life.
We drive to Falkirk where we do a presentation in the Job Centre which finishes with a question and answer session. This allows me to put across my own experience of having to claim Job Seekers Allowance after my court case.
We then meet up with John* so that I can relay to him all the information I found out about doing permitted work whilst in receipt of Employment & Support Allowance (ESA). He was very anxious and I felt was stepping backwards rather than continuing to leap forward which he had been doing in abundance until a job opportunity arose. Since then he has started employment and is flourishing.
After lunch we meet Paula* in the Criminal Justice women's hub to go over her action plan. This is something she set in place whilst away on her Next Steps wilderness journey. Paula has now gained part-time employment so it has been difficult keeping in touch since she came back. I will continue to reach out to her and hopefully she will touch base with us sometime soon.
I myself have now found part-time employment but I keep Wednesdays free to continue doing Venture Trust Mentoring which not only supports others but gives me great pleasure and keeps my mind in a good positive frame.
*not real names.