Offenders transform village facilities

OFFENDERS serving community sentences went to a village hall in Thornhill Lees last Monday to give its garden a summer makeover.
They pulled up weeds, replanted flower beds and completed a tidyup under a ‘payback’ scheme run by the probation service.
Many different groups of offenders have been to the Village Hall and Social Centre, on Lees Hall Road ,on the scheme in recent years.
Work, including a sensory garden and an interior refurbishment, worth about £25,000 in materials and labour has been done free of charge.
The latest group to visit, this time from the Wakefield area, featured those convicted of offences ranging from drink driving to affray and benefit fraud.
One said: “People can see that we’re being punished and that we’re giving something back to society for our offences. I’ve taken pride in my work here. When I go past the village hall on the bus I can say to my wife ‘just look at what we did and how nice it looks’.”
Lynne Watson, of the probation service, said the scheme had cut reoffending and even led to some taking up careers in construction.
Village hall manager Terry Goodall praised the work and said: “The place has been transformed over the last few years.
“It was halfderelict before. Now we have a lovely environment and it’s attracted many new users, including the Brownies.
“Probationers come back every few months to keep the place looking good. It’s a great scheme. We couldn’t otherwise afford this work.”

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