Full-time role for former volunteer

Mark Squire with other volunteer mentors and curate Ann Harwood outside Winslow church in 2010
Mark Squire with other volunteer mentors and curate Ann Harwood outside Winslow church in 2010
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A North Marston man is being paid to work for the charity where he has been a volunteer since 2010.

Mark Squire has won a place on the Vodafone World Of Difference programme, giving him two months paid full-time work on the New Leaf project.

New Leaf helps the resettlement of short-term prisoners into the community, with the aim of reducing repeat offending.

The project teams up ex-offenders with volunteer mentors in the community.

Since 2010, more than 40 volunteer mentors have been trained. There are currently 25 mentors working in Bucks and Oxon, with another 16 awaiting training in May

Mr Squire, aged 47, a former managing director, has been a volunteer mentor with New Leaf since the project’s start.

He successfully applied for the scheme run by the Vodaphone Foundation when his employment contract with a car dealership group was due to come to an end last year .

Now half way through his two-month full-time post, Mr Squire’s main role is to work closely with the scheme’s partner prisons, meeting short-term offenders earlier and matching them with mentors before they leave prison.

He remains a mentor himself and has also been working on the project’s website and Facebook page www.newleafproject.co.uk and www.facebook.com/newleafprojectmentoring

He said: “The variety has been very enjoyable. To have the opportunity to have a full-time role there has been very rewarding.”