As I indicated above, whilst interested in the issue of community engagement in probation work, my experience in Sheffield was such as to highlight limitations and scepticism about some of the ways in which this was addressed. There were essentially two dimensions at play, one involving engagement with other agencies at work in the localities, and the second involving the use of volunteers.
With the more radical self help strategies adopted by Bill Jordan in my mind, both dimensions seemed inadequate to the need for something more substantive if we were to achieve sufficient change with those under our supervision. It was only towards the end of my career as the notion of ‘recovery communities’ was articulated and developed in drug treatment environments that a real sense of resolution of these dissatisfactions emerged. Like all really useful ideas, the resolution is essentially simple and it seems absurd that I did not latch on to it years ago in my career. This however is stepping too far forwards, and if my account is to remain true to its intention, the reader will have to take my journey as it was, warts and all.