Hi! I’m William and am proud to have been a Volunteer with Sacro for about six years now.
Sacro runs a Transport Service for people in a long-term relationship with those detained in Scottish prisons and patients detained at the State Hospital. Maintaining strong relationships with loved ones through regular visits is critical to reducing the chance of reoffending following release. So enabling visits to happen is good for the people detained, good for their families and, critically, is also helping safeguard society following release.
The problem for many relatives with no transport is that their loved ones are incarcerated far away from where they themselves live, so getting to visit them can be extremely difficult. It’s even harder when taking young children. It can involve taking several trains and buses and it can take the best of a full day’s travel just to make that all important 90-minute visit. Sometimes all it takes is for a bus or train to be cancelled or run late and the visit time is missed.
The Travel Service I help provide removes a lot of that stress and hassle. Using my own car, I collect people from their own home and take them directly to the visit and then directly home again. It’s quick and reliable and means that loved ones are in a better place mentally for the visit than if they’d already undertaken a long and uncertain journey for many hours by other means.
As a Sacro volunteer you get to know individuals and families for whom you provide transport and you in turn can become a significant and appreciated person in their lives. Of course it’s important in the role not to judge and also to maintain appropriate boundaries. Just being that someone who will simply listen is important for many of our service users. It’s a special role.
On the practical side, you’ll typically be driving quite long distances on each trip, so it’s a ‘must’ that this is no problem for you. Transport Volunteers receive training and are compensated for use of their car with a mileage rate, and also paid an amount to cover something to eat and a coffee while on a task. There’s plenty of brilliant support from Sacro’s Transport Service Co-ordinator who is always available to talk and who flags up new assignments to all volunteers. It’s up to you how many you wish to make yourself available for - being a volunteer, of course, means you control how much time you can give.