Mike had taken early retirement and was looking around for voluntary work when a bowling friend put him contact with the appropriate adult service. He admits to never having heard of an appropriate adult before this but it sounded interesting and, having completed the initial training, he took the role on.
When a young man in his 20’s came up to Mike in Rochester High Street and began to tell him about his army career, the former British Gas manager was slightly taken aback.
Mike then remembered the young man as a not so confident lad in custody. Mike had suggested to him then that one way to sort out his troubled life would be to join the army and learn a trade. Hearing that his advice had been taken and that the man had recently been promoted to Lance Corporal, Mike admits to feeling quite a buzz.
“The one thing that keeps me going as an appropriate adult is the feeling that you are helping people. The people you support don’t always show gratitude in the way you or I may, because of a lack of social skills, but you know you have helped them. Meeting this young man was definitely a memorable moment.”
Mike plays down the commitment side of the role and is quick to point out that it is always up to the volunteer as to whether you accept a call or not.
“If you are going away for a period of time or out for the evening you let the service know and you won’t be called.”
The ability to remain calm, apply common sense and above all retain a sense of humour are important qualities to have, Mike says.
“But one of the most vital skills is to be able to gain the confidence of people in fairly quick time, advising that you are there for them and not the police but also you are not there to hinder police in any way.”