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PCC adds his support for the work undertaken by Community Payback in Warwickshire

December 20, 2023
Two people pose beneath a Community Payback sign.

Community Payback Operations Manager Sharon Storrie with Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.

Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has praised the work undertaken by Community Payback across the county. Describing it is a key initiative to help people move away from reoffending, he saw for himself the positive impact of projects in local communities.

Since the first Community Service order (as it was then known) was made in Nottinghamshire in 1973, many thousands of projects have been completed across England and Wales, helping people on probation to gain skills and experience as they complete their requirements, and benefitting communities.

Fifty years on and the courts nationally hand down more than 50,000 Unpaid Work requirements each year to offenders for crimes including theft, criminal damage and alcohol-related incidents.

Community Payback is a scheme run by the Probation Service to supervise people on probation that have been sentenced to between 40 to 300 hours of community service to help with improvement projects in local areas for the harms caused by their crimes. Offenders who are sentenced to community work can also undertake up to 30 per cent of their sentence in educational support and training.

Work can include:

  • removing graffiti
  • clearing wasteland
  • decorating public places and buildings – for example, a community centre.
Work undertaken at the Eagle Recreation Ground is pointed out to the Commissioner.

The Commissioner is shown some of the work near the entrance of Eagle Recreation Ground in Leamington Spa.

During his visit, Mr Seccombe was taken to see two sites in Leamington Spa which Community Payback has helped to improve.  At the Eagle Recreation Ground, vegetation has been cleared back at the canal side entrance to the park, creating a safer and more welcome environment along the public footpath, while at Stamford Gardens, residents are benefiting from the work to clear back of a previously overgrown communal garden, which had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour until the Community Payback team got involved.

Speaking after the visits, Mr Seccombe said: “It’s been great to meet with the organisers of the Community Payback schemes here in Warwickshire as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first order being handed down by the courts.  Since then, the value of such work has only continued to grow.

“There’s no doubt that Community Payback is hard work but there are rewards for the individuals ordered to take part, with a sense of value and satisfaction in a job well done. They may even learn new skills which can help with their rehabilitation, which is vital to help prevent a cycle of reoffending. When you consider the improvements to public spaces and community schemes that Community Payback helps to implement, everyone gets a benefit.”

Community Payback schemes have been bringing improvements across the county.  For example, they were asked to undertake additional groundwork within Atherstone Cemetery in preparation for the Remembrance Day parade. The group washed the stone down with water, cleared the moss from the tarmac, pathways were scrubbed with a wire headed brush, hedgerows and edges were pruned.

Thanks were received from the British Legion personally commending the probationers and Supervisors for their hard work which is reflected in the pictures below.

The Memorial at Atherstone Cemetery showing before and after viewsCommunity Payback also supported the community with clearing paths and walkways at a local school in Nuneaton. Fantastic work done in and around the school made the grounds much more presentable and clear from leaves.

Two views outside a school showing before and after the cleanupEarlier this year, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the scheme, a ‘golden shovel’ visited the county and was presented to Dereck Tribe in recognition of the work undertaken in Welford upon Avon Millennium Project. Probation have worked alongside Dereck maintaining the grounds and footpath and contributing to conservation within the area. The footpath that runs through the millennium site has recently been awarded as ‘the best maintained footpath in Warwickshire’ by the Ramblers’ Association.

A man and woman pose with a golden shovel

Dereck Tribe poses with the Golden Shovel alongside Community Payback Operations Manager Sharon Storrie.

Community Payback also work at Long Lawford, Paddox and Eastlands Primary Schools and provide support with building maintenance and painting, the creation of new pathways within the school ground and general grounds maintenance, to include clearance of an allotment to allow the school children to learn how to grow plants and food.

A spokesperson for the Probation Service said: “Warwickshire Community Payback team welcomed the visit made by Phillip Seccombe and will continue to work alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and other local partners to deliver community-based projects that benefit both the residents within Warwickshire and visitors to Warwickshire”.

Mr Seccombe added: “I’m really keen to see local people suggest more local areas that could benefit from the involvement of Community Payback, so I encourage anyone with a suitable project to nominate it to the Probation Service.”

You can nominate a Community Payback project for your local area on the website.