Case studies

Paul's story

For Paul, having been given the unexpected chance to work within the community, a Sue Ryder shop would not have been at the top of the list.

"Preconceptions come to mind - run by the elderly and for the elderly - but this was not the case.

"The placement has given me an insight into the world of retail, which was an avenue that I had not considered open to me. But me being me grabbed the bull by both horns and put body and soul into doing my utmost to achieve the best that I could.

"I was made welcome by the staff and volunteers, which was a huge weight off my shoulders and took a lot of pressure off of me. For that I will be forever grateful."

Developing skills

"It has been a fascinating time, from knowing next to nothing about ladies fashions, bric-a-brac, etc. to having a small working and passable knowledge of the various avenues in what will sell and what will not.

"Having been involved in all aspects of the day-to-day running of the business I find it an absolute pleasure and look forward to the following day's challenge, whatever that might be."

Treated as an equal

"What I found the most surprising was the acceptance of myself as a person and not being judged for my crime. As well as this, it's the level of trust that I have been given. I've been given the same responsibilities as the other managers and I feel pleased about this level of trust. It's a wonderful thing to regain after so long with not having it.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed working within Sue Ryder. I'd like to think that I could be deemed suitable to be employed on a part or full-time basis anywhere within the country if the opportunity arose.

"It's been a privilege and an honour to have participated in the scheme, which allows people in my position to be re-introduced into society in a positive and helpful manner - something that I would recommend to anyone and is definitely worthwhile doing.

"I appreciate everyone's patience, forbearance and understanding, as without this it would have made the situation difficult to say the least, if not impossible to work there."