Volunteer call from Probation Board
Volunteers willing to help offenders get back on the straight and narrow have been urged to sign up to a new mentoring scheme.
Participants in the Probation Board Northern Ireland (PBNI) initiative will be encouraged to help offenders apply for jobs, support them as they cope with addiction problems, as well as providing a positive role model.
The pilot scheme will first run in two of the board's offices in Belfast (Ormeau Road and Newtownards Road), as well as in Downpatrick and Newtownards.
The intention is to roll it out region-wide later in the year.
Director of probation Brian McCaughey said the mentors could provide a key role in rehabilitation.
"PBNI recognises the value that volunteer mentors can provide to support our work in making local communities safer by challenging and changing offenders' behaviour," he said.
"Volunteers can offer a core support role to our work, with a distinctive but complementary role alongside paid PBNI staff."
Mr McCaughey said volunteer mentors would be fully trained and supported throughout their experience.
The board is looking for individuals who can commit two to three hours each week and who are aged over 18 years.
The scheme has been launched as the PBNI made a new funding commitment to voluntary groups helping offenders.