Kirkburton Church of England First School has undergone a major transformation over the past four months with significant improvements to the outdoor play areas thanks to the work of offenders on Community Payback.
Community Payback, managed by the West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), has involved teams of people on unpaid work orders at the village school.
Work – which saved the school more than £3,600 – included the clearing of brambles and other undergrowth from the perimeter of the school field and the removal of saplings the woodland and surrounding areas. A circular woodland path has been restored and made safe for the children to access with the removal of holly, brambles and nettles in the area.
Colette Kitson, acting deputy head teacher, said: “The children are delighted to be able to run behind the shelter in the playground now following the removal of invasive climbing plants. Parents can now see the beauty of the school grounds as they come through the side gate instead of overgrown shrubbery, choking trees and general debris spoiling the entrance.”
“The Community Payback team were very respectful of the school and grounds and clearly worked hard under Community Payback placement supervisor Elaine Bialkowska’s direction.”
Eddie Sladdin, community payback placement co-ordinator at West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Since we began work at Kirkburton School, the reaction from school children, teachers, parents and other visitors has been very positive as they have witnessed at the genuine contribution offenders can make when working on a Community Payback scheme.”
Community Payback aims to rehabilitate offenders through working on projects that benefit the community.
Martin Davies, chief executive of West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Community Payback schemes like the one delivered at Kirkburton School 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.”