Richmond House, sheltered accommodation managed by Leeds City Council, has been given a face lift thanks to the help of offenders who have been sprucing up the gardens of the Pudsey-based housing complex which is home to more than 20 pensioners.
Offenders have been working to enhance the courtyard gardens for the enjoyment of residents as part of Community Payback.
Community Payback, managed by the West Yorkshire CRC, aims to rehabilitate offenders through working on projects that benefit the community. The work has involved teams of people on unpaid work orders renovating the courtyard area with the installation new stone paving flags and decking.
The work, which is estimated to be worth more than £1,000, also saw offenders replanting flower beds to bring the garden back into active use – much to the delight of residents.
Cllr Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said: “The feedback from residents has been terrific. Previously the courtyard had become very neglected and overgrown but the work of those on Community Payback has brought this important recreational facility back into use.”
Andrew Evans, placement coordinator at West Yorkshire CRC, said: “Community Payback is a punishment for breaking the law but it is also a way for those on probation to learn new skills and to support their rehabilitation. Working on this and other similar projects across West Yorkshire means offenders not only give something back to the community but it teaches them valuable practical skills which can lead to future employment.”
The Community Payback scheme works across a wide range of projects in the community in West Yorkshire renovating community gardens, parks, church yards and schools.
Martin Davies, chief executive of HLNY CRC, said: “Community Payback schemes like the one delivered in Leeds provide a means by which people on probation learn new skills to support their future employment prospects and can be seen to be making a positive contribution to society and the community in which they live as part of their rehabilitation.”