Volunteering for us has kick-started Katie's career goals!

Caption: Katie has just started her Masters at Teesside University after graduating in Psychology this year!
Caption: Katie won ‘Volunteer of the year Award 2016’ at Teesside University’s VolunCheers Awards

Volunteering for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind has helped Katie Cartwright to gain the confidence to work with offenders for her dissertation and achieve First Class Honours, earn a VolunTees Award as well as gain the right experience towards a Forensic Psychology career.

Katie, who is currently beginning her Masters at Teesside University, applied for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind as her first voluntary position, starting in March 2015. While having an interest in Forensic Psychology, she believed the Appropriate Adult programme was the best route to engage with offenders.

The Appropriate Adult service provides support to vulnerable individuals with mental health issues or learning difficulties, who are detained by the police. Volunteers like Katie are required to attend police stations to ensure that detained persons are treated fairly, their welfare needs are met and they understand the procedures.

This opportunity was the passageway Katie needed to see if she would enjoy the specific field of work.

“Volunteering for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind has given me the confidence to engage with offenders and I knew I wanted to do this as a career”.

During her time at Teesside University, Katie dedicated her interest for this field by submitting a qualitative dissertation in the area of forensic psychology, specifically domestic violence. She interviewed eight domestic violence perpetrators for her study obtained by another third party organisation which resulted in achieving a first class. She believes she wouldn’t have had the confidence to speak to these participants if it wasn’t for her volunteering position at Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind.

Volunteering for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind also gave Katie the recognition of ‘Volunteer of the year Award 2016’ at Teesside University’s VolunCheers Awards (VolunTees Service). She also won Platinum Plus for over 250 hours’ worth of volunteering and training, she currently holds 302 volunteering hours registered on VolunTees.

Hilary Homan, Diversion and Resettlement Lead was delighted when Katie won the volunteering award.

“Katie has been so flexible and generous in giving her time to the service. She has dealt with some very serious cases and she provides a very strong non-judgemental attitude to the criminal justice procedures.”

Katie has worked on a couple of high profile cases with local police and she believes the respect you get from Police, definitely makes it worthwhile.

“It’s such a good experience, it feels amazing to think of the opportunities I’d of never thought I would have done”.

Detective Constable Pete Addison stated his gratitude to Katie who nominated her with a high profile case.

“Katie’s professionalism was exemplary; it was clear that she understood fully her role as Appropriate Adult. She is an excellent ambassador for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind and would be an asset to any team.”

“She clearly cares about the role of Appropriate Adult and I wish her luck in the future with her chosen career”.

Katie enjoys the variety you get with cases, two are never the same and they are all so interesting and different. As Katie starts back at Teesside University to begin her masters, she is planning to concentrate on her degree but hopes to remain in close contact with Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind and help with encouraging prospective volunteers to become Appropriate Adults.

“I definitely recommend anyone to volunteer for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, it give me the boost I needed to fulfil my chosen career path”.

Darren Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology expressed that, “Throughout the time I have known Katie as an Undergraduate student at Teesside University, I have found her to have been a conscientious and hard-working student. She has presented herself as being forward thinking and creative, demonstrating her motivation to progress through her academic studies”.

“Her voluntary work with Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind has provided her with an excellent learning opportunity allowing her to apply her theoretical understanding as developed through her academic studies into practice. This experience will be valuable to her in the future and I hope she maintains her drive and positive attitude towards her future career goal”.

Katie aims to become a chartered Forensic Psychologist in the prison service after her studies. It’s great to hear how volunteering for our organisation has helped a passionate young woman kick start her career.

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