Probation case manager Helen May has received a Butler Trust commendation after one of the women she helped embrace a new life nominated Helen for transforming her life.
The Butler Trust promotes best practice in the prison, probation and correctional facilities sectors. Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal is the organisation’s patron and each year the awards receive more than 350 nominations.
Helen is based at the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company’s Tameside probation office and Tameside Women’s Centre. She specialises in working with women offenders and has a caseload of between 50 to 65 service users.
Emma wrote to the Butler Trust to nominate Helen because she was so impressed by the work the probation case manager did to support her to quit the bottle and stop offending. Her nomination was endorsed by Helen’s manager Beverley Cogan.
Emma was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order and 120 hours Community Payback in 2018 after being drunk in charge of a car. She’d got into trouble after rowing with her girlfriend and falling asleep in her car while drunk because she had nowhere else to sleep. She was found by police in the stationary vehicle.
At the time the 28-year-old was an alcoholic and following her sentence accessed the Tameside Women’s Centre and depended on support from Helen and her colleagues. Helen arranged for her to go to rehab, drove her to the centre, and collected her following the 18-week residential.
Emma successfully completed her Community Order and now is in her own flat, is employed and in a steady relationship.
Helen, who started in probation in 2001 in administration, said: “I’m obviously thrilled to get the accolade, but what really makes me happy is to know that it stems from the nomination which Emma wrote.
“I met Emma recently because she was so delighted about her new flat and wanted me to see the progress she has made. That made me hugely proud.
“Emma struggled as a young teenager because of her sexuality and the fact she was bullied at school. She self-harmed and used alcohol as a coping mechanism. I always thought, as I do with many of my service users, that they could be my children, and that if they were, I’d want to know that decent services were on hand to support them.”
After starting in probation as a temporary, typing up drug rehabilitation order requirements, Helen became interested in becoming a practitioner.
She said: “I’d never once thought about a job in probation, now 20-years later I cannot think of doing anything else! I love the work and working with women – many of whom have complex needs – to support them to make lasting changes to their lives.”