Offenders doing unpaid work as part of Community Payback (community service) have contributed over £7,020* worth of free labour across Sandwell, during the council’s ‘Safer 6’ Campaign.
Safer 6 ran from 29th September for six weeks across Sandwell’s six towns. Staffordshire & West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company (formerly Probation Trust) supervised teams of adult offenders who completed 1,080 hours of unpaid work, clearing 11 tonnes of waste in the process.
Community Payback is unpaid work ordered by the courts as part of a community sentence. Projects can include litter picking, clearing dense undergrowth, repairing and redecorating community centres and removing graffiti. Offenders usually work as part of a team, monitored by a supervisor, and work all day with short breaks.
Work done by Community Payback (CP) teams across Sandwell during the six weeks included:
- Kingsway – Clearing litter and fly-tipping from the rear of properties. Overgrown areas were strimmed and cut back, before gates were erected to stop more fly-tipping.
- Clay Lane – an area of overgrown land was cleared. Work is planned to lay stone on the area to prevent it from becoming overgrown again.
- 10 Acre Wood on Woden Road – Litter-picking and laying wood chippings.
- Old Park Road – More litter-picking.
- Ridgeacre – an area of woodland in the Wednesbury ward was cleared. More work to improve the site is planned.
Sandwell Council staff donned waterproofs and wellies to help the CP team clear over 3 tonnes of rubbish from Tipton Green, including Wellington Road, Wood St, Park Lane East and Jays Avenue.
- An overgrown footpath between Bustleholme Lane and Stone Cross was cleared, making it safer.
- Pathways off Broom Road (towards the canal) were cleared, litter-picked and re-established.
In addition to the work listed above, Community Payback continues to work in partnership with the Canal & River Trust at sites in Sandwell.
Community Payback Android Smartphone App – There is now a ‘Get Community Payback’ App on Google Play which enables projects to be submitted via an Android smartphone. Android users can simply go to the Google Play store and search ‘Get Community Payback’ to download the free app.
Martin Walton, Community Payback Unity Manager for the Black Country, said: “My team is proud to have been involved once again in this annual event. It’s really gratifying to see so many partner organisations and local people working toward a common goal of improving communities.”
Simon Lomas, Head of Community Payback for SWM, said: “Sandwell Safer Six is a great opportunity for Community Payback to work with partnership organisations and the community to make a real improvement to local environments. The Community Payback workers can see both the progress made and the benefits for local residents. It’s great for them to realise that their efforts are worthwhile and appreciated.”
*Value of work calculated using the adult national minimum wage = £6.50 per hour
Across Staffordshire and the West Midlands last year, over 506,000 hours of Community Payback were completed every year by almost 4,000 offenders on a community sentence. This equates to over £3 million worth of free labour provided to local communities as offenders pay back for the crimes they have committed.
To be considered, a project must meet the following criteria:
- It must benefit the local community
- It must not take paid work away from others
- No one must make a profit from the work
- It must be challenging and demanding
- It must be worthwhile and constructive
- Offenders must be seen to be putting something back into the community.
The Community Payback team will assess the project for suitability and for health and safety implications. Anyone can nominate a project, so, if an individual, member of a club, community group, faith group or voluntary organisation has a project that fits the criteria above.
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