Offenders on Community Payback helping to clear-up a Bradford estate earned a payback of their own in the form of a barbecue from grateful council staff.
The team have been organised by the probation service to assist staff at the ARC community centre on the Canterbury estate in Little Horton.
Community Payback is managed by West Yorkshire CRC in partnership with several organisations and aims to rehabilitate offenders through working on projects that benefit the community. The Community Payback scheme works across a wide range of projects in the community in the region renovating community gardens, parks, church yards and schools.
Council officials said that the centre and surrounding land had been plagued by fly-tippers and vandals, but that the workers had been tidying the area for the past couple of months, keeping on top of the littering. The group are also planning to build a fence around part of the land to prevent unauthorised access to the site.
The workers, who are sent to the scheme after appearing before the courts, have also been carrying out odd jobs inside the building including painting and putting up shelves.
The partnership with West Yorkshire CRC was initiated by local volunteer Jane Wootton, who is behind many community and fundraising projects in the Canterbury area.
Councillor Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “This is a really good effort by the Community Payback team in helping to improve facilities for people who live on the estate.
“They are proud of what they have achieved here in Canterbury, in a perfect example of what the scheme was set up to achieve.”
Placement coordinator Mohammed Bashir said the unpaid work through Community Payback can help offenders gain valuable new skills. “Community Payback schemes like the one delivered at Little Horton provide a means by which offenders learn new skills to support their rehabilitation and future employment prospects, and also put something back into their local community.”
Across West Yorkshire people complete about half a million hours of unpaid work a year on projects including maintaining parks, assisting sports clubs and helping to run groups for the elderly and vulnerable adults.
*The Community Payback Team in West Yorkshire would like to hear about other projects which residents think will make a real difference to their community. Nominate a project for Community Payback.