Probation volunteer Ian Sparshott has won a Butler Trust commendation in recognition of the unstinting support he gives people on probation.
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.
Ian is one of 20 people to receive a commendation from this year’s award scheme, which picks 10 winners and also issues certificates to finalists. Interserve’s Community Rehabilitation Companies nominated 11 people of whom senior probation case manager Mike Ward and Integrated Through the Gate manager Sonia Leake were also finalists.
Ian’s award is in recognition of the work he does as a peer mentor as part of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company’s volunteer scheme. Ian has spent more than 700 hours volunteering alongside people on probation, helping them with a range of things including: support to overcome addiction, advice on accommodation, support with arranging benefits and mental health and wellbeing support.
The 64-year-old committed more than 200 shoplifting offences to fund an addiction to drugs that spanned several decades and resulted in him spending years in prison. He quit drugs aged 48, and for the last three years has volunteered with HIOW CRC. Ian has also been recognised for the same role in a separate award scheme run by Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane.
He said: “The awards mean something to me because it is tangible, and it is recognition of the 12-years I have spent mentoring others and the journey I have had.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I made many mistakes from a young age and spent a lifetime in incarceration and drug addiction because of those choices. When I meet people on probation, they know I’m not faking it when I talk to them.
“I enjoy mentoring very, very much. It’s me, it’s my story, and I love helping others and seeing the glint in their eye as they being to see a more positive future.”
Mike is part of the Integrated Offender Management team in Bradford and works closely with police colleagues with offenders considered to be at a high-risk of re-offending. Sonia is responsible for a resettlement team at HMP Humber and HMP Hull.
Mike said: “I am delighted to have been a finalist. I’ve worked in probation for 17-years and care deeply about trying to support people to stop reoffending. It’s good to get recognition for that.”
Sonia added: “I was delighted just to be nominated and humbled know that so many people had taken the time to write such wonderful and generous comments about me.”
Interserve runs five Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) that deliver rehabilitative services to low and medium risk offenders in England.
Kim Thornden-Edwards, Director of Justice, Interserve, said: “Probation is challenging at the best of times, but what makes their achievements all the more remarkable is that they are delivering work to the very highest of standards despite the complications created by COVID-19.”
Interserve CRC colleagues who were nominated include: Sandra Todd, Sharon Reddy, Mary Kirby Helen May, Ellyn Dyer, Marion Meakin, Robert Donald and Kevin Corlett.