When 46-year-old Zoe found herself with yet another probation order four years ago, she knew something felt different to previous occasions. This time, with support from Ingeus – alongside her determination and positive attitude – she was on the path to finding a better life for herself and her children. Now in paid employment with Ingeus’s Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS), she’s inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.
 
Zoe, a recovering addict, says, “I’d been in and out of the justice system for years. I’d been through some horrendous things and none of the help I received was working. But that final probation order felt totally different – the support I got from Ingeus was immense.”
 
Zoe was referred to Ingeus, where her skills in supporting other service users was soon recognised. She was asked to become a volunteer mentor and spent time facilitating groups in locations across Derbyshire. After just eight weeks, she was invited to apply for a job as a customer services site host, where she spent the next two years before being told about Ingeus’s newly-won Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS) contract. 
 
Ingeus’s CRS is part of the Ministry of Justice’s new probation system, and provide a range of support services to help break the cycle of reoffending; including providing support in accommodation; wellbeing; and education, training and employment opportunities. Ingeus is keen for Zoe to share her skills and experiences as a previous service user and provide others encouragement to start their rehabilitation journey.
 
Although only in the first two weeks of induction with her new job, Zoe has a clear understanding of the positive difference she’ll be able to make to the lives of others. As a health trainer she’ll have face-to-face meetings with service users, signposting them towards ways to improve their mental and physical health – from organising appointments with a GP or dentist, to encouraging healthy eating.
 
“It would have been much easier for Ingeus to recruit somebody with qualifications and experience in this kind of role,” says Zoe. “But they can see the benefit of someone helping who has been through similar situations. Ingeus is prepared to put time and effort into me, they see me as a person and have helped to re-build my self-worth and self-esteem.
 
“Getting a job with Ingeus has helped me to turn my life around. They have given me the right support to be able to take on the role as a health trainer. Now, it’s my turn to help others.”