Church lunch served by offenders

A group of Dorset churchgoers have celebrated 25 years of partnership working with offenders and their probation workers.

Every Tuesday in term time, a group of over 60s meet for lunch at St John’s Church, Leigh Road, Wimborne, prepared and served by offenders on the local Community Payback scheme.

The project has been running since 1991, and has helped to support hundreds of former offenders in their path away from crime.

Supported and supervised by Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company (DDC CRC), the service users assist in the planning, preparation, cooking and serving of the menus.

One of the service users, Darnell Trevor Lake, completed his community service in 2015 and now regularly attends the church and uses the facilities there with his young family as well as helping out at the lunch clubs.

The 25th anniversary was celebrated by a special event at the lunch club in June.

Geraldine Ford, Community Payback manager at DDC CRC, said: “This great partnership is just one example of the great work we do across the region with local authorities, community groups and organisations. We’re providing much-needed localised services while giving service users a chance to ‘pay back’ for the crimes they have committed.”