How a volunteer’s idea became reality: Derek and the Dorset Schools Project

CEO of Victim Support, Diana Fawcett, standing next to volunteer Derek Radley

Derek Radley is a retired police officer who joined Victim Support in October 2007. He became the first volunteer speaker designated to speak to groups in the community, informing them of the work undertaken by Victim Support.

Derek realised that, although he could talk about the work of Victim Support, there was nothing in place to advise how to help people keep safe and help prevent someone from becoming a victim.

He decided to focus on young people, talking to them and educating them about preventative measures in relation to crime and highlighting possible dangers.

Derek put forward his ideas to staff who worked with him on a basic outline of a talk. With talk content agreed, the go ahead for the Dorset Schools Project was given.

Trial talks proved so successful they were extended and now encompass the whole of Dorset.

In any one academic year, Derek may speak to over 3,000 students. Feedback from pupils and teachers alike has been excellent. And has shown that Derek has been able to point those in need to the main services of Victim Support.

CEO of Victim Support Diana Fawcett presenting volunteer Derek Radley with a bottle of wine and letters of support for his British Empire Medal.Derek was named Volunteer of the Year 2009 by the Dorset Criminal Justice Board. He was a finalist in the National Volunteer Awards and received a certificate as one of the ‘Stars’ of Victim Support.

Derek was awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List for services to young people and the wider community in Dorset.

(Derek’s story was written by his manager, Eileen Shacklady.)