A Probation Service Officer from Llanelli is to receive a commendation for her work helping to reduce reoffending in the area.
Sian Waters, 56, who works for Wales Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), is to receive a commendation from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at March’s Butler Trust Awards, which recognises and celebrates outstanding dedication, skill and creativity by people working in prisons, probation and youth justice.
Sian, who has worked in probation for 15 years, was nominated by colleagues and offenders alike for her ability to create real change and opportunities for the people she supports, most recently through a community project to help ‘upcycle’ unwanted goods in the town.
The Ail Gylfle (Second Chance) scheme gives a new lease of life to old and unwanted furniture, as well as producing wooden items for sale in the project’s shop, giving around 30 offenders a month the chance to pick up new skills and recognised qualifications to make them more employable.
Sian has led with design ideas, encouraged the involvement of the women’s service user group, and created links with work placement opportunities and essential skills providers. In one month alone, the scheme saved more than one ton of discarded wood from landfill.
Sian said: “It's an absolute honour to be nominated by service users for this and crazy to think that I can receive it for something I love doing every day. To me, this social enterprise is the culmination of my working with service users and facilitating their change. It is now their turn to pay it forward and my job has changed with them in the sense that I now support them to facilitate change in others.”
One of the service users who nominated Sian said: “If it wasn’t for Sian I would be dead. She saved my life. She helped me turn my life around, gave me opportunities and motivated me to do things I would not have dreamt of doing before.
“Sian talked me into applying for the job when I didn’t have the confidence or belief in myself. She still carries on doing that today. She has changed lives across Llanelli. We all look upon her fondly – she is an amazing woman and without her I don’t know where I would be today. All the service users want to work with Sian because she never gives up on them; she is non-judgmental, fair and honest. We need more people like Sian.”
Wales CRC Probation Director Dawn Blower said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see Sian being recognised in this way and it is lovely to see our service users feeling strongly enough about the work Sian is doing. Sian is one of our most creative members of staff and has a great rapport with the service users.”
Originally from London, Thomas was stuck in a rut – committing crime to fulfil his drug habit and in and out of prison on a regular basis.