I began volunteering for Merseyside Police in 2017 when I joined as a Police cadet at the age of 17. Three years later I am continuing to volunteer with the force as a community volunteer for the Citizens in Policing unit, and I would like to share my experience with you.

I entered the cadet programme a shy individual with low self-esteem and throughout my time there I blossomed and graduated a confident person with self-belief and determination. I had numerous opportunities that have given me invaluable experiences that I would not have obtained elsewhere. I was extremely fortunate to have stumbled across this programme unbeknownst to the amazing impact that it would have on my life. As a cadet I participated in many community events, engaged with members of the public, and had many incredible opportunities to take part in activities such as dragon boat racing, sponsored walks, camping, completing my silver DofE, and participating in interactive lessons which included site visits and guest speakers and the lessons provided a great insight into the force.

After graduating the cadet programme, I discovered that volunteering was a passion of mine, it gave me a sense of fulfilment, purpose and identity, so I decided that I wanted to progress to become a cadet leader. This role led me to becoming a guide and mentor for the cadets, using my experiences to help them throughout their journey too which was something special. Our team of leaders had to be reliable and good representatives to the cadets and to the force. We were accountable for the cadets, their behaviour and their participation and this sense of leadership enhanced my own personal abilities in being able to effectively manage a team of people and a cohort of cadets. It also gave me new opportunities that were beneficial for myself, for example I was able to complete my Gold DofE and was involved in their new leadership scheme.

Following this role, I then became a volunteer staff member helping to organise, plan and run the cadet programme. This has given me a greater sense of appreciation and understanding for the work that goes into running this fantastic programme. It is a privilege of mine to now help shape the future of these young individuals lives just like it did for me. I volunteer because I enjoy being proactive and I like making use of my spare time, using it to do something worthwhile and give something back to the community.

Recently, amid the global pandemic of Covid-19, I offered my assistance to departments who were struggling for resources and staff members. I was grateful to have been offered the chance to assist with Merseyside Police’s HR department. It was vital for the department that applications for various police roles were still being processed under their high demand and since I was in a fortunate position to be able to help I wanted to do whatever I could to ensure the effective running of the force. This is now my journey at present and I look forward to what awaits me next. The volunteering I do is something that I truly love, and advocate and I would encourage anyone who is interested in doing something similar to take up any opportunities that come their way.