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13/06/2021

Do you want to help your community and support young people involved in crime?

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Currently the Youth Support Team (formerly Connections, the Youth Service and the Youth Offending Service) are recruiting community volunteers to support young people who have been arrested and are on court orders.

We are very keen to recruit more volunteers around the Cotswolds as often young people in rural areas are the most isolated. 

We are looking for volunteers to join community panels, a unique way of dealing with young people who commit crime.

Volunteers will work with young people and the Youth Support Team to create work programmes that repair the harm done to victims and help to prevent further offending.

Training runs for six days on 12th of January ,19th January, 26th January, then no training on 2nd February, 9th February, 16th February and 23rd February

Lunch and travel expenses are provided

For more information and an application form please contact [email protected] or telephone 01242 242203

Please note that all applicants will be subject to enhance criminal record bureau checks

Volunteer Panel Member

Role description:

• When a young person commits a crime and goes to court they can get a Referral Order for between 3 – 12 months. We use volunteers from the community to this sit on a panel that helps support young people plan the work they undertake, to help them think about the victim and to support them to reflect on the behaviour and not to commit crime again.

• Our work includes anger management, family work, community payback, positive activities and support with things like education and mental health. Our volunteer panel members meet with the young person every six weeks during their order to check on progress, praise and encourage young people and support them to complete their order successfully.

• Community Panel Members come from all sections of the local community and no qualifications are needed. Panel Members must be aged 18 or over.

Volunteers will get an opportunity to positively affect crime in the community as well build positive relationships with young people.

YST are looking for people who are…

• Interested in working with the victims of crime and young offenders

• Are non-judgmental and respect people’s different ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds

• Can communicate with different types of people

• Can support others to make plans and changes to their lives

YST ask you to…

• Attend Community Panel Meetings on a regular basis (you tell us your availability)

• Come to training before starting and group supervision approximately every three months

• Work cooperatively with our professional teams

The details…

Panels take place usually outside school hours at our offices and in community buildings across Gloucestershire. We ask panel members to attend at least two per month to keep them fresh

Training includes a six day course that is run on Saturdays

You will be well supported by the volunteer manager and members of the youth support team

Expenses like travel and parking will be reimbursed

It is great to volunteer in your local community but volunteers will not sit on panels when they already know the young person or their family

Volunteers will undergo a criminal records bureau check

Having criminal convictions does not mean you cannot volunteer but you need to tell us about any history of offendingInformation for Panel Members

Information for Panel Members

What are Referral Orders?
A Referral Order is a court order imposed at either a Youth Court, or occasionally at a Crown Court. A Referral Order is given to most 10 to 17-year-olds sentenced for the first time in court, unless the charge is serious enough to warrant custody. The order will last between 3 to 12 months depending on the seriousness of the offence. After appearing in court, the young person will be assessed by a member of the Youth Support Service. He or she will then attend at a Youth Offender Panel where the appropriate course of action will be decided.

What is a Referral Order Panel?

“A Youth Offender Panel provides an opportunity for the young person to speak for themselves rather than through representation and makes them take responsibility for their actions.”
A Youth Offender Panel is made up of two volunteers recruited directly from the local community alongside one member of the multi-agency Service (Youth Support Team)

The panel will meet with the young person and the parents or carers to talk about the reasons for the offending behaviour and to discuss a way forward. The victim is asked to attend the meeting to tell the young person how the crime affected them. Whilst unfortunately only a small percentage do attend, research shows that a young offender and a victim meeting face-to-face can be a powerful and positive experience for both.

“The whole dynamics change. The young person is usually unaware of the consequences on the victim and family. The victim being present emphasises that every action has a consequence. The victim gets a true impression of the offender, a physical, mental and emotional impression and realises that s/he is an ordinary youngster, not a monster.”

What will the Panel decide?
With all parties in agreement, a contract will be put together which will include an element of reparation, either to the victim directly or to the community at large.
The contract will also include other elements to tackle the young person’s offending behaviour – drugs counselling, anger management or dealing with truancy, for example. The contract will be supervised by the YST and reviewed at regular panel meetings. The conviction will be “spent” when the order is successfully completed. If the young person fails to comply, they will be sent back to court and a different sentence may be given.

Are Youth Offender Panels just a soft option?
No! These panels for the first time give the community a say in putting together a package which will ensure young offenders repair the harm done and are given positive help to prevent further offending. It will be the responsibility of the panel to decide the right – and most appropriate – course of action, taking into account the young person’s offence and reasons for offending.
Youth Offender Panels give members of the community who want to make a difference the chance to help tackle youth crime in their neighbourhood.

“Having the victim at my meeting made me realise that small things you do for small reasons affect people for a long time.”
“The driving course I was sent on by the Youth Offender Panel was really good; it made me realise the consequences of my offending.”
“The anger management course helped me to keep out of trouble and just walk away from trouble when there is any.” (young people’s’ comments.)

Who can be a Youth Offender Panel member?
We need panel members who can represent their local community.
We are looking for men and women aged 18 or over from all ethnic and social backgrounds.

Where can I get more information?
www.yjb.gov.uk/YouthOffenderPanels(Youth Justice Board for England and Wales)
www.aopm.co.uk (The Association of Panel Members)

Youth Support Team

Grosvenor House, Grosvenor Street, Cheltenham GL52 2SG

Telephone 01242 242203 / 07768032846

For further information please contact [email protected] 

Source: Youth Support Team

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