Otley Community Centre, has been given a makeover after offenders working on Community Payback have worked to restore the building introducing new modern facilities for the market town’s residents.
Community Payback in Leeds is managed by the West Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and aims to rehabilitate offenders through working on projects, nominated by members of the community, that benefit the community.
At Otley Community Centre, offenders have worked to refurbish the interior of the building. Originally the team where charged with redecorating the building but after stripping back wallpaper it was clear the walls needed re-plastering.
Ken, a former offender and experienced builder who now volunteers as a peer mentor to offenders, said: “It was a much bigger job than we anticipated but it meant that the lands on Community Payback could learn some new building skills as plasterers significantly improving their employment prospects.”
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 with Ken our service users learned some important new skills which will help in their rehabilitation”
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 West Yorkshire 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.”
*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. You can nominate projects on the website www.westyorkshirecrc.co.uk