Offenders help to rejuvenate Plymouth – bit by bit

Man listing in a group

Offenders paying back for their crimes are helping to rejuvenate Plymouth’s streets through an innovative partnership.

Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company (DDC CRC) has teamed up with Plymouth City Council’s street services team to give offenders a chance to pay back for their crimes and help to brighten up the city.

Following a successful project to restore the Belvedere ‘wedding cake’ and three Victorian shelters on Plymouth Hoe, DDC CRC has worked with the Council to identify further improvement projects.

Groups of service users who had been sentenced to Community Payback by the courts have since been repairing and rejuvenating street furniture including bollards, lampposts, benches, stone walls, park accessories and safety barriers in the Patna Park and Wyndham areas.

Teams have also redecorated subways in Crownhill and North Cross subways as well as the Plymouth Hoe tennis pavilion. The work is to continue in the coming months, with other subways in the city next on the list.

John Brownlow, Community Payback coordinator at DDC CRC, said: “The purpose of a Community Payback order is to serve as a credible punishment, to reduce reoffending, to deliver reparation to the community and to improve educational and manual skills.

“We have assisted Plymouth City Council to undertake visual improvements in the heart of the local community, conducting works which they would not have otherwise been able to proceed with. In return Plymouth City Council have provided us with meaningful, well organised tasks which have a positive impact on the general public.

“Our service users have benefitted from these types of works as not only do they offer the opportunity to develop manual and interpersonal skills thus improving potential employability but also with the regularity of positive feedback from members of the public, it is improving their value and self-esteem.”

Cabinet Member for Street Scene and the Environment, Councillor Mike Leaves said: “We’ve all been impressed with the work the teams have carried out in our neighbourhoods. The improvements they have made have helped brighten our streets and inspired a lot of comments from residents.

“If we can make our streets cleaner and tidier and help build up people’s confidence and skills, it is a good thing.”