Carol Lee has won through to the final of the prestigious National Probation Awards for her work supporting people to help them stop reoffending.
The Probation Awards are judged annually by an independent panel run by Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service. The awards recognise the best work carried out by probation services across England and Wales.
Carol (pictured left) is employed by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company and supports people referred to her from police custody suites and courts in Wigan. She has worked with more than 350 people during the last 12 months and was nominated for the “incredible impact” that she has had on three service users’ lives.
Carol, a community support navigator, is part of a specialist team called the Greater Manchester Integrated Healthcare in Custody and Wider Liaison and Diversion Service (WLDS). The team meets people in police custody suites and at court, assesses their needs and refers them to support services.
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be a finalist in the awards. I love my job and I’m delighted to get the chance to shine a light on the work undertaken by the team that I’m proud to be a part of.
“There are no quick fixes, but with motivation and determination I’ve seen people make incredible changes to their lives.”
Individuals who decide they want Carol’s service call her to arrange a meeting. Carol also holds a weekly drop-in – important for those who are homeless.
Support can last from one meeting to frequent contact lasting several months.
The service ranges from helping to register clients with health services, accompanying them to appointments, through to addressing mental health needs, substance misuse and accommodation issues and advising with benefits claims – among other issues.
Carol said: “My job has shown me that change is always possible – irrespective of an individual’s background.
“Some of those I’ve worked with have had horrific, traumatic experiences. Some are entrenched offenders and for others it’s a first-time mistake. But none of this needs to define a person’s future.
“The crucial thing is to first focus on small steps and to always be true to your word. The satisfaction I get from playing a small role in helping someone progress is incredible.”
Laura Archer-Power, CGM CRC’s service manager for the WLDS, nominated Carol for her role in helping three people stop re-offending. The award ceremony is hosted on July 3rd.
She added: “The difference Carol has made to people’s lives is truly humbling. She is so passionate about her work and is really deserving of this recognition. I only hope that she goes on to win the award.”