Helping Youngsters with Problems Build a Future; VOLUNTEER: How Paul Aims to Put First-Time Offenders Back on the Straight and Narrow

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ban Griffin CRIME REPORTER

TRYING to stop young people sliding down the slippery slope into crime is one of Paul Baxendell's passions.

The 36-year-old father of three is a volunteer with Coventry's Youth Offending Service.

He and many like him are vital to the service, giving up their time to influence young people who have been involved in crime to change their behaviour and attitude.

And now bosses are looking to recruit more people willing to give up some of their spare time.

Paul, a care worker who lives in Grindle Road, Longford, Coventry, said:

"This seemed the ideal thing to get involved with - to put something back into the community and use skills I have picked up to try to connect with the young people and give them the benefit of my experience.

"There is no bigger buzz than taking someone who's not got much of a future and giving them skills - and you can see a nice, bright future for them at the end of it."

Paul sits on a referral panel. First-time young offenders are put before the panels by the courts in a bid to stop their criminal behaviour before it worsens.

Two volunteers, a professional case manager, the youth and a parent or carer, and sometimes the victim, sit on each panel. …