[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A service in Manchester that provides support to recovering addicts and ex-offenders trying to resettle in the area has rewarded several of its volunteers for their impact on the people they help.
The volunteers act as peer mentors, run support groups, and visit their mentees regularly to provide advice and help with day-to-day tasks such as attending appointments. This happens alongside on-going support from full-time staff of housing provider Riverside Care and Support, who runs the project.
They were praised at the Riverside Volunteer Awards for the difference they have made to their communities. Volunteers Simon O’Brien and Catherine Hay were recognised in particular, with Simon receiving the Riverside Impact award for his achievements since he first became a mentor in August 2015.
Simon said: “I was grateful for the support I received to help me get my life back on track, so I knew I wanted to put my experience to good use and help others who have found themselves in a similar situation to me. I very humbled to win this award and I hope that I can inspire and support others to transform their lives.”
Simon has built a strong rapport with the individuals he works with, and helps them to engage with specialist agencies like Addiction Dependency Solutions and its Bridging the Gap programme.
When recommending Simon for the award, Aston, one of the people he has helped, said: “Simon has empathy and understanding of sobriety and his support groups are really helping me in my recovery… His help and time are greatly appreciated.”
The project has already had some volunteers move to full-time employment, one as a project assistant within Riverside, one in London, and the third at a traineeship with housing charity Shelter. Riverside will recruit more volunteers from their supported housing schemes, who want to use their lived experience to give something back.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]