The police and crime commissioner for Peterborough has been to see how criminals sentenced to carry out community service have been making a difference at an ‘urban oasis’ in the city.
Darryl Preston spent time with a community payback team who have been undertaking their community sentence with The Green Backyard, Peterborough to see how it has been growing.
The Green Backyard is a community growing project based on the former allotment site on Oundle Road in the Fletton and Stanground ward of Peterborough.
Darryl said; “Community payback is not the soft option, it is the visible option which punishes offenders while also teaching them valuable skills for future employment.”
Darryl joined in and painted some benches while speaking with the community payback team, and found out about the type of unpaid work they have been carrying out as part of their sentence.
He said; ““In my Police and Crime Plan I pledged to work with partners to tackle re-offending and the community payback scheme does that.”
Steve Johnson-Proctor, Regional Probation Director said: “Community Payback schemes are a valuable resource for local communities.
“The schemes allow people on Probation to develop skills for the future whilst carrying out meaningful, focused and demanding work which makes a genuine difference.”
Courts will order an individual to carry out community payback in cases whereby the offender can be better rehabilitated in the community. This can include first time offenders or where a mental health condition has been an influencing factor.
Vanessa Pool, Chair of Trustees, The Green Backyard added: “Our mission is to create an accessible green space for the community to take ownership of.
“During the pandemic community payback teams have been instrumental in restoring our garden to its former glory and preparing it for Peterborough residents to enjoy and benefit from post-lockdown.”
Communities can nominate a Community Payback project to suggest what unpaid work is carried out by offenders in your local area, this could be:
decorating a community centre
To be considered the work must benefit the local community, not take paid work away from others and not make a profit. Nominations can be made on the Government website https://www.gov.uk/nominate-community-payback-project