Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
COMMENDEE 2016-17: David receives a Commendation for his tenacity and skill as a peer mentor, with some of the most complex offenders in Leicestershire, as part of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire & Rutland CRC.
David Gamble, from the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland Community Rehabilitation Company (DLNR CRC), brings a remarkable personal integrity to his work as a peer mentor co-ordinator for some of the most complex offenders across Leicestershire – including those who have an increased risk of re-offending or pose a high risk to the general public.
David meets his clients as they step out of the gates of HMP Leicester, says his line manager Ben Humphris, because he “promised he would be there and waiting. The prisoner did not want to feel alone and isolated on his first day on the ‘outside’.” Ben adds that David “is always, always punctual because he doesn’t want the prisoner to start with any doubts or have a reason to become disengaged. This work is so demanding because not only has David to retain his own motivation and positive outlook, but he has to reach out and motivate quite complex individuals.”
Fiona Buchanan, External Communications Manager for the DLNR & SWM (Staffordshire & West Midlands) CRCs, says David’s work “requires incredible energy, unstinting dedication and resilience to meet the inevitable setbacks that occur when working with men and women with such complex needs.” She describes David’s dedication, rapport and empathy as “inspiring”, noting his personal motto: ‘never give up on a case.’
Leicester’s former Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Sir Clive Loader praises David’s “insight and understanding of the issues [as] truly invaluable…I commend his work unreservedly.”
Terry*, a service user, describes how, when he came out of prison, he was “relieved that Dave was there, I was worried that I might be sleeping rough again. I can talk to Dave and I told him about what I had been doing. I can be honest with him. He has encouraged me to start studying for my English and maths again [and] now I would like to train as a peer mentor.”
Jan Radford, Operational Manager for the drugs and alcohol team in Leicester and David’s first line manager says, “he is so tenacious in the way he battles to help service users access the basic requirements of a stable life.”
Catherine Holland, CEO of the Reducing Reoffending Partnership, owner of the DLNR and SWM CRCs, describes David Gamble’s personal progress and professional achievements as “an inspiration to both staff members and men and women on community supervision.” One measure of his success is consistent, across the board 100% satisfaction ratings from service users – exceeding his already high target of 90%.
David himself notes, “you can never describe this work as a nine-to-five job. I believe that people can change with the right support and encouragement… It is demanding work, and my line manager has helped me to see that I have to switch off at home and also take my holiday entitlement. Otherwise, I will become exhausted and that is not going to benefit the people that I’m meant to be helping.”
He adds, simply and powerfully, “they are people, often with complex needs and no family support, who need an advocate to help them to apply for the essential basics,” before poignantly concluding, “Sometimes progress is achieved by taking very small steps.”
* Name changed