Probation case manager Aaron McCabe has added another top accolade to his haul, after making a stunning transformation following release from custody in 2013.
The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company employee (here pictured with the CRC’s chief executive Kim Thornden-Edwards) is one of only 50 people nationwide to receive a prestigious certificate from the Butler Trust. The Trust recognises the finest probation and prison staff across the country, and its patron is HRH Princess Anne.
Aaron, who is based at the CRC’s Southampton office, in Town Quay, was nominated in recognition of his unstinting efforts as a health trainer, a role he occupied before becoming a case manager.
The certificate, which is signed by the Princess, is presented to all Butler Trust finalists. Aaron has already won a National Probation Award in recognition of his commitment to the service, and was previously a finalist for an Interserve Award as well. He has also appeared on Prison Radio to talk about his experiences.
Aaron said: “I’m very happy, it’s nice to have your work recognised, but I also hope that it can help demonstrate to people leaving jail or on probation that they can make this change too.
“As an organisation, we believe that people can make positive changes to their lives. I am passionate about that vision, and if my example can help inspire our service users – that’s fantastic.
“I also want to thank my manager Hayley Berrington, she is an inspiration to me and I feel I’m learning everyday from my colleagues.”
Before quitting alcohol several years ago, Aaron struggled with binge drinking. His last custodial sentence was for a violent offence that he carried out while drunk.
The father-of-three, who has two step children, said: “Probation played a big role in my journey, as did the Spurgeons charity. They helped me think of my children, to put them first, and to want to become a better role model for them.
“I realised that I had to quit alcohol. It was a problem drug for me. I committed the crime after I’d been abstinent for a year, but then relapsed. I deeply regret what I did.
“I’m not a violent person, quite the opposite. But drink brought out the worst in me and I made bad decisions. Spurgeons, prison and probation all helped to show me that to be the best dad that I could, I had to stop drinking.”
He added: “It’s tough battling addictions. I can speak from experience with service users.
“Alcohol is particularly difficult because we have a drinking culture in this country, it’s not just socially acceptable – it’s expected.
“I was growing up, but I also opened up and accepted help. Then others recognised my passion, and I feel privileged to have a job where I can help support people to make positive change.”
Aaron volunteered with various agencies prior to taking up the health trainer role with HIOW CRC. The job involved him helping service users to improve mental and physical wellbeing. After two years as a health trainer Aaron successfully applied to become a case manager with the CRC, a job he has done for a year.
Hayley, HIOW CRC Interchange Manager, said: “Aaron has introduced the enthusiasm he showed for supporting people as a health trainer into his case management role.
“He is committed to inspiring people to change, and is passionate about the significance probation can have in people’s lives.
“Because of his integrity, his belief in people and his ability to develop relationships, Aaron is an asset to my team. He also remains committed to his own learning and continues to develop his skills. He now delivers accredited programmes and runs a peer support group.
“I am thrilled Aaron’s work is being acknowledged and would like to join in congratulating him for these achievements.”
Aaron was a guest on National Prison Radio in December, following his Probation Award accolade last year.
He said: “I was proud to be on the radio. I loved being able to tell people in prison that I’d been there, that I had completed more than one custodial sentence, and that there is hope.”