Volunteer Elaine wins Pride Award

Somerset volunteer Elaine Culley has been honoured for her role in supporting young people and vulnerable adult detainees who enter police custody.

Elaine volunteers as an ‘Appropriate Adult’ for Somerset County Council’s Youth Offending Team and has been recognised with a Pride award, presented by Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

The awards pay tribute to the “silent stars” and to highlight their contribution to their communities or organisations within the Avon and Somerset Police area.

Appropriate adults get involved when the young person is unable to successfully nominate a family member, friend or other person to attend while they are in custody. They provide support and make sure young people understand their rights and the police process

They also ensure their health, well-being, legal rights and entitlements are in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).

Elaine has contributed more than 500 hours of her own time to support 210 vulnerable people in police custody. Elaine said: “I’m very proud to have been awarded the PCC Pride award. Being an Appropriate Adult is not always a nice job but it is varied. I very much enjoy doing my custody work.”

For the last eight years Elaine has also been mentoring ex-offenders on their release from prison, helping them reintegrate into the community.

Leader of the Council, Councillor David Fothergill said: “As a County Council we are enormously grateful to those like Elaine who give up their own time to help others and improve lives. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any community and our county would be a poorer place without them.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens added: “I always look forward to the Pride Awards as I get to say a big thank you to some truly extraordinary people like Elaine. It is so important to take the time to celebrate such inspirational individuals who work hard to keep our communities safe.”

At present the Youth Offending Team has a full quota of Appropriate Adult volunteers but would welcome interest from people interested in becoming a Reparation Volunteer.

The role supports a young person subject to a court referral order to make reparation – paying back their victim or the community. Volunteers build a trusting and professional relationship with the young person, work alongside and supervise the young person at their reparation placement, share practical skills and attend training.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the reparation role should contact YPSVolunteers@somerset.gov.uk or 01458 831668.

To check out all Somerset County Council volunteering opportunities – from volunteer driving, helping in a library or supporting Somerset’s outdoor activity centres click https://volunteering.somerset.gov.uk/ or contact 0300 123 2224 for more information. #SomersetVolunteering

To find out more about the PCC’s Pride Awards follow this link: https://www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/News-and-Events/News-Archive/2019/August/Unsung-heroes-recognised-at-PCC-Pride-Awards.aspx