Day in the life: area coordinator

Andrew Burrows
September 4, 2023

What attracted you to Shannon Trust?

It was New Year's Eve and my daughter was visiting. I had been retired 3 years from a high-profile position as an international engineering director within the oil and gas industry. We had been through the pandemic. I had some health issues which had prevented me from playing golf and my life had consisted of collecting wine, reading and walking the dog. My wife and daughter were worried that I wasn't engaged with living a full life. They were rightly concerned.

So my daughter insisted that I think of 5 things that I would like to spend my time doing and then set about researching how I could get involved. I was set a tight deadline of 24 hours!

Visiting prisons and hospitals were on my list of areas of opportunity for volunteering. This grabbed my daughter's imagination. Together we found Shannon Trust and came across open positions in my area of South Devon. Having read about Shannon Trust and its objectives, I felt that I would be able to make a positive contribution to the cause, I also felt that Shannon Trust was an organisation that could offer further opportunities to become more involved than in the role that I applied for, which was as area administrator.

What attracted you to the role?

The advertised role was well within my administrative ability and would only occupy a few hours a month of my time. I felt that it would be a good start as a way of introduction to the world of prisons and Shannon Trust.

I hoped that other opportunities may present themselves once I became involved. Sure enough, within a month the area coordinator role became available in my area and I am now undergoing training for the role.

I am very happy with the step up to AC as it allows me to develop the role on a more personal level with the volunteers and facilitators within my area and to assist them with strengthening relationships with HMPPS.

Why do you enjoy volunteering?

I am at a stage in life where I have time on my hands, no financial worries, many years of experience in working with people from all over the world and from all walks of life. 

I feel that I have many years ahead of me that can be channelled to benefit others who are less fortunate.

What has been your experience so far?

Since joining Shannon Trust in March, I have visited 2 prisons, met with volunteers, facilitators and other Shannon Trust AC's and managers. I found all my colleagues within ST to be great people to work with.

I have also been encouraged by the reception we have received from the prisons I have visited. I feel already that Shannon Trust is making a huge contribution to life of both mentors and learners, as well as generally lifting morale within one of the prisons that I visited - as stated by one of the prison governors and the prison chaplain.

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