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Community Payback Scheme is just the thicket for The Green Backyard

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, 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 Ram’s Fair Meadow former allotment site in the Fletton and Stanground ward of Peterborough. It has a history of community usage dating back to the 13th century.

The team has been welcoming the community payback scheme to their garden for two years. Offenders have been clearing and maintaining the site which had to close to the community during the Covid lockdown, to embed it as an urban oasis in the heart of the city.

“Community payback is not the soft option, it is the visible option which punishes offenders while also teaching them valuable skills for future employment,” said Darryl.

Darryl flexed his green fingers in the community garden and painted some benches while speaking with the community payback team about the type of unpaid work they have been carrying out as part of their sentence.

“In my Police and Crime Plan I pledged to work with partners to tackle re-offending and the community payback scheme does that,” he added.

Community payback punishes and rehabilitates people on probation while making reparation to their local areas for the harms caused by crime.

“Community Payback schemes are a valuable resource for local communities,” Steve Johnson-Proctor, Regional Probation Director said. “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.

“Our mission is to create an accessible green space for the community to take ownership of,” Vanessa Pool, Chair of Trustees, The Green Backyard added. “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:

  • removing graffiti
  • clearing wasteland
  • 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.