Passing the baton of hope
28 Feb 2022
The end of lockdown in 2021 heralded a new beginning for Clare Noble. Starting a course to become a peer mentor with Ingeus’s Justice division gave Clare the fresh outlook on life she needed. She’s now looking forward to passing on the same positivity to ex-offenders accessing Ingeus’s Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS).
Peer mentors have first-hand experience of the criminal justice system and volunteer to pass on their positive rehabilitation experiences to others. Ingeus’s CRS, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, provide a host of services to help break the cycle of reoffending. Ingeus encourages people like Clare to share their skills and experiences as a former user of these services with others who may benefit.
Former financial advisor and estate agent Clare, 53, says: “The peer mentoring course gives people hope, and for some service users it can be hard to find that sense of purpose. This course helps to give them that – it gave me a goal and now I’m hoping to pass that outlook on to others.”
Clare completed the 12 week-long peer mentoring course in Loughborough alongside seven other service users. Receiving her certificate last November, she’s now a qualified peer mentor, able to start encouraging other service users to follow a similar path.
“I attended interviews yesterday to find a new group of people to start the same journey,” says Clare. “There was one service user who is adamant that he’ll change this time, thanks to the hope the peer mentoring creates. It gives people a sense of self-worth and helps them to feel like they’re moving forwards, not backwards. When you’re in a dark place you can’t always see what the opportunities are, but hopefully this will help people to get on the right path.”
Inspired by peer mentor coordinator Suzanne Hunt and two peer mentors she met on her course who are now employed by Ingeus, Clare is hopeful that her voluntary role will eventually lead to a full-time job. She’s also completing an online course with Leicester College in her own time to help boost her CV further.
“Being a peer mentor can only be a good thing,” says Clare. “It’s helping others while giving Ingeus an opportunity to see your talents and how well you work.”