Re:Shape is a charity that specialises in leading a community response to sexual harm. Its overall mission is ‘No More Victims’. They are looking for more volunteers to help them rehabilitate offenders back into the community, particularly in the south of the county around Boston and Spalding. 

The role of volunteers is to form ‘circles of support’ around the former offender who are referred to as ‘core members’.  Core Members are referred to Re-shape either by the police or the probation service.  Volunteers play a key role by supporting Core Members to re-integrate back into the community through both support and accountability. 

Core members have to be committed to the circle and to accept that they want to have a life free of offending. As many are recently released from prison they may feel anxious and stressed about being away from their usual structured environment and feel they may be at risk of reoffending just to return there.

A full assessment of the core member is carried out by a Re:Shape co-ordinator together with a group of volunteers. Their full history is discussed with the group and they have to talk about their offences and acknowledge their crime. Following this, volunteers who would be a good match for the core member are chosen.

Each core member is assigned 4-5 volunteers who help them rehabilitate back into the community. This could include helping them with their CV to find work, giving advice on budgeting and managing their finances, enabling them to make contacts with social groups all with the aim of reducing social isolation – a key factor in re-offending.

Every meeting with the core member must have two volunteers present with each meeting lasting two hours (one of which is spent directly with the Core Member). Volunteers come from a variety of different backgrounds but it is essential that volunteers are emotionally resilient and are empathic. They must also be committed to supporting the core member whilst holding them accountable for their behaviour.

Volunteers receive full training and ongoing support to enable them, in turn, to support and appropriately hold to account the core member.

Nicky Linn, Lincolnshire Interventions Co-ordinator with Re:Shape said: “Our volunteers are amazing people who make a huge difference to the lives of our core members, helping them change their lives for good.

“We started in Lincolnshire in 2016 and most of our volunteers are still working with us.  A lot of people may find it hard to understand what motivates people to work with sex offenders but many people see now that they cannot stay in prison forever and have to be rehabilitated into community. Our circles are there to protect communities and to stop there being further victims. Importantly most offenders do want a new start and to be a better person and we can help them achieve that.”

Their website can be found here.