We have provided case studies below to show the sheer importance of CELLS and how our many volunteers and workers contribute to make it the strong project that it is today.
Volunteer, presenter and motivation for others
Sam was introduced to CELLS in October 2013 by Mel of the Salford Foundation this in turn was through our work with Achieve/Connexions.
He appeared to be a bright young lad who genuinely regretted his mistake of getting in trouble, this was whilst working as a doorman, a life that he had now shunned and was now looking to get involved in youth work. It was encouraging to see Sam had enrolled on a youth work course at St Helens College as part of this objective and was seeking part time work in order to support this learning. He agreed that he could come in every Friday to volunteer for CELLS and has never let us down with this commitment yet, although he had restrictions because of all this activity he tried to get involved in as many courses as possible. Initially, he worked with Julie on his Personal Development Plan from which we understood the need to update his CV, whilst doing this we registered Sam for some online courses common core skills & knowledge, personal safety for lone workers. These courses were relevant to his career objectives in youth work and also flexible with his heavy time schedule. We firstly invited Sam to observe our presentations which gave him an insight into our work and approach, on his volunteering days he was given tasks such as office and admin duties to get him involved in a working environment. He then constructed his own workshop on his individual story and delivered it at Byrchall High, it was from this event that Sam showed his power of engagement with youngsters. He has delivered many more group sessions and one to one sessions since.
Sam continued to work on a Friday and developed sessions with youngsters from Centre groups that were NEET (not in education, employment or training) this work over spilled into a group that Centre 63 (where CELLS is based) are working with and the Centre asked Sam to work with them every Friday, this arrangement was conducted in the correct manner and CELLS approved this so as to further develop Sam's PDP objectives. He recruited the group to attend a CELLS First Aid course and mentored them through this course. It was from this arrangement that Sam was alerted to a position becoming available at the Centre for a youth worker, we helped him with this application and also interview technique and approach, Sam was successful in securing the post and it was great testimony to him that he did. Sam has only recently taken on and developed other workshops including joint enterprise and always helps others with their work and workshops. He has just facilitated a whole event at a local primary school which was a major success mostly due to Sam's professionalism and that of his colleagues. Sam has just been awarded a National award for Young person of the year, which is testament to his hard work and character.
Shaun's comment (Development Manager and Founder of CELLS)
Sam is a valued member of the Cells team and is testimony to how CELLS works, He has followed the CELLS ethos and mentored other volunteers and helped them with their own development and progression through the work they do with us in the community. He has been involved in organising and facilitating events and also community engagement with people such as the Commissioners office and HMPS. He continues to work with us and Centre 63 in a paid role, we feel he has benefited greatly from this and in turn he has helped others in many ways. I see Sam eventually developing his career within the youth sector and possibly taking his CELLS experience as the foundation for that progression. His commitment and endeavour is inspiring and his versatility including working with troubled youngsters on a 1-1 level has been pivotal in changing their attitudes on crime and their own life path.
Ray is currently servicing a sentence for firearms but volunteers ROTLs
My name is Ray and I am a prisoner from HMP Kennet. I approached the outreach team in prison in September 2013 stating my desire to do some form of youth work training/volunteering as part of my stage one voluntary work which was due to start in January 2014. As a result of this I was placed with CELLS who I now work with. In the beginning I felt very awkward as I have never worked in this kind of setting and felt very nervous and out of place. I thought people would judge me on my criminal past and for being a prisoner. I was under the impression I wouldn’t fit in and would constantly be judged.
It is now May 2014 and I have been working with CELLS almost 5 months and all my initial fears and bad feelings towards how I would be accepted and fit in have gone. My confidence has grown a lot due to the help and support I have received from the staff at CELLS. I have completed many online courses and have also completed an Asdan course on peer mentoring and helped develop lots of other aspects within the office environment such as evaluations and workshops. I have worked in teams as well as on my own and now feel comfortable in both roles. Since working with CELLS I have gained several contacts with local schools and have also attended several meetings with the CELLS staff regarding presentations in the local schools. This had enabled me to give valued input as the business I am working for need these contacts to organise presentation days to deliver our many workshops. We have created and made a static prison cell within our office so we can do presentation and educational days from our office, this has had enormous amounts of positive feedback and is a vital tool to our team. The role I have taken within CELLS can mean a lot of office based work which has helped educate me with IT and office skills such as sending e-mails and completing evaluations on our work as well as reports. I also help with the day to day paperwork such as the volunteers activity sheets and PDP’s. I have worked on and helped develop a PowerPoint presentation as well as a prison experience workshop that I deliver with the youths at the centre as well as on presentation days at various destinations such as schools and colleges.
I feel I have developed a lot as a person and feel I have found something I am passionate about. My aims for the future are to develop my CV further by completing relevant courses and training within the field I would like to work. Since being at CELLS my CV has grown a lot and I have gained vast amounts of certificates through online and other courses.
Shaun's comment (Developer Manager and Founder of CELLS)
Ray is testimony to the CELLS ethos that negative pasts can inspire positive futures, his hard work and endeavour is starting to show him that he is now taking steps towards his ultimate aim of working in the youth sector. He has completed a lot of fundamental training and qualifications in order to continue his development and we hope to aid him and continue this. We eventually hope that he will gain employment in doing what he seems to be good at, which is not just educating youngsters about the consequences of crime but also working with youths as a mentor and an inspirational role model.