Offenders are working to improve community areas across Lincolnshire - and now the public is being invited to nominate which ones they should tackle next.
The appeal has been made to residents to nominate community projects for offenders to tackle as part of the Community Payback scheme.
Community Payback is a punishment which requires offenders to pay back the community for the crimes they committed with unpaid work.
The police and crime commissioner committed £34,000 to support and expand the scheme. It is believed to be a UK first for a PCC to commission criminal justice interventions in this way.
The funding from PCC Marc Jones will pay for an extra supervisor to oversee teams of offenders and for transport to get them to and from places of work.
With around 80% of people in Lincolnshire who carry out unpaid work schemes avoiding reoffending within 12 months of taking part, Mr Jones believes investing in the activity as a highly effective as a way of reducing crime in our community.
Projects are designed to combine hard work for offenders and the chance to learn new skills. Projects range from gardening and environmental works, clearing footpaths through to redecorating community centres and working in charity shops but Mr Jones is keen to see the work options widened.
The Community Payback scheme in Lincolnshire is managed by the Humberside Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (HLNY CRC).
Around 180,000 hours of free work a year is carried out in communities across Lincolnshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire and schemes undertaken already include several village improvements on behalf of Cherry Willingham and Wellingore Parish Councils - including strimming, weeding, painting, cleaning
“The community payback scheme is a fantastic opportunity for communities to get some reparation for the damage done but also a way of both punishing and rehabilitating the offenders who carry out the damage,” said Mr Jones.
“I am committed to helping extend this scheme and that is why I have pledged additional funding but I would ask communities to play their part and suggest projects that can be taken on.
“It’s a way to make a positive difference to the lives of residents and help offenders to become useful members of society, give them training and a purpose and, hopefully, reduce reoffending.”
Martin Davies, chief executive of HLNY CRC, said: “Community payback provides a tough, effective and visible punishment requiring people to undertake challenging work while giving something back to communities where they live.
“It also provides an opportunity for people to turn their experience into a positive one by picking up new skills that can help them towards paid employment and leading more stable, positive and crime-free lives.”
To nominate a project go to www.hlnycrc.co.uk/what-we-do/community-payback/nominate-community-payback/