I've worked with children since leaving college in 1989, first in a nursery and then in a special school. Both were hugely rewarding places to be involved in.
In 2012 I became ill and unable to work.
Gradually getting better, I was advised to do some voluntary work to get back into the 'real world' again. I went to the local volunteer centre who gave me information about places where I could use my skills and experience.
Ormiston Families at HMP Bedford was one that looked the most interesting. I went for an interview and started the security process. I began volunteering in January 2014 and now help at different visiting times during the week, with the children who come to see their male relatives.
I love it. It makes a difference for the children coming into a difficult situation, showing care and light at a dark time. I enjoy feeling part of the great Ormiston Families' team and I also help to think up ideas for art and craft activities within the particular restriction of items that can be taken in to the prison.
The whole experience has helped me personally grow in self-confidence and feeling I have done something worthwhile and rewarding.