Ernie Grendall has won a Butler Trust certificate in recognition of his work organising peer mentor support for people on probation.
The veteran and volunteer peer mentor coordinator works for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company (HIOW CRC). He organises for volunteers to provide additional help to service users who are referred to his service.
The Butler Trust is an annual award scheme that recognises, celebrates, develops and shares outstanding work and best practice across UK prisons, probation and youth justice services. The Trust’s patron is Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal and the charity receives more than 350 nominations each year. A total of 50 certificates are given to the best nominations, with a dozen winners invited to meet Princess Anne at a ceremony hosted at Buckingham Palace.
Ernie currently supports 17 volunteers – seven with military experience. They carry out a range of tasks from meeting service users to discuss problems and set goals through to providing advocacy support at meetings and referring people to partner organisations for additional assistance. Military veteran volunteers are paired with offenders who have an Armed Forces background and provide additional help such as liaising with the Royal British Legion, organising medical appointments to undertake post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses and help writing cvs.
Ernie said: “I feel deeply privileged to receive the Butler Trust certificate and am absolutely delighted.
“I love the job because the volunteers are fantastic and do brilliant work. They bring a different dynamic to what HIOW CRC delivers because our service users know the volunteers are unpaid and that they are therefore working with each individual because they care and want to see them succeed.
“I’ve seen volunteers have a dramatic impact on service users, sometimes breaking through and supporting them to make positive changes to their lives where others have struggled to make that impact.”
Since being launched five-years-ago Ernie’s military veteran volunteers have worked with 132 people, only eight of whom have reoffended, with four have being returned to custody.
He said: “Those figures speak for themselves. I am immensely proud of the work HIOW CRC’s volunteers carry out.”