Meet Tony & Emma - new volunteers investing their time with In2Out.
In2Out: Hi. Tell us about yourself and why you wanted to volunteer with In2Out.
Hi. I'm Tony. I'm 59 years old and retired from teaching a few years ago where my real interest and passion revolved around pastoral work.
I still felt I had much to give, especially in working with young people which I have always enjoyed, and I chanced upon In2Out on the web. Within days of my enquiry Kelly had called me and got the ball rolling.
Hi. I'm Emma and my passion is teaching and working with people. I left primary school teaching 10 years ago to open a studio where I teach dance and movement to adults. I'm also a qualified yoga teacher.
I had some free time and a desire to support people in challenging situations. I found In2Out through a Google search. The values and ethos resonated with me, the vibe was very welcoming and it seemed like a wonderful place to offer my time.
In2Out: What did you think it would be like, working with young offenders?
I had taught several young people who ultimately became young offenders. That said, I was initially curious what 'inside' would be like. I'm still finding out as I have only been in [the prison] on a handful of occasions.
I had no idea what it would be like. I approached it with a very interested and open mind.
In2Out: What did the process of becoming a volunteer involve?
From the beginning I have found In2Out to be very proactive and organised but, in addition, very welcoming, professional and friendly. After the initial telephone call with Kelly, I attended a meeting at In2Out. Subsequently we began the vetting process alongside three visits inside as a visitor.
The process was thorough but straightforward. I applied online and then had a phone call with Kelly before coming to the In2Out office to meet in person. I already had a DBS so, once I'd completed my online Safeguarding course and provided references, we were good to go!
In2Out: What time commitment do you give and what things do you do?
At the momentI have committed to just a couple of half days per week as I have quite a few other interests. As a newbie I am still discovering where I might be of best use.
I visit about once a month for an afternoon. During my time I've had the opportunity to be involved in lots of things: cooking sessions, dance sessions, packing and distributing gifts at Christmas and Easter. I even attended a gym session once and attempted my first ever deadlift under the watchful eye of the PT and some of the young people! As volunteers we are also invited to the quarterly training day which is absolutely brilliant, so useful and a great opportunity to meet the whole team.
In2Out: What response do you get from the young people?
So far, I have found the young people to be very receptive and communicative. I appreciate that it's very early and this won't always be the case, but so far, so good, I think.
In2Out are very popular with the young people and so, when visiting as an In2Out volunteer, I have always found the response extremely positive. I always feel extremely proud to be part of this wonderful team that does an incredible job and is clearly very important to the young people.
In2Out: If someone was thinking about volunteering with In2Out, what would you say to them?
So far, my experiences have been very positive so, of course, I would encourage any interested parties to take that first step and make contact.
I would say go for it! The team are fab, you will be well looked after and nurtured, you will feel supported, welcomed and valued.
Thanks so much to Tony and Emma for sharing with us. Find our more about volunteering with In2Out.