Community Payback: a positive force for Milestones and the Care Farm

Community Payback form one of the delivery strands of the Our Bright Future Milestones project, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. Since the Care Farm opened in November 2016, Community Payback has undertaken a variety of tasks at least once most weeks. The Care Farm uses therapeutic farming practices to help young people learn new skills, grow in confidence and gain independence. When major projects, such as constructing the polytunnels have occurred, they have worked with us up to three times per week. Without the monumental amount of unpaid work undertaken by Community Payback, the Care farm would not be as the Care Farm is today.
Community Payback is a scheme run nationally by the Probation Service. In Wiltshire, the day-to-day running is overseen by Bristol Gloucestershire Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company (BGSW CRC).  It enables offenders, who have been convicted by the courts to a Community Order with an Unpaid Work Requirement, to make reparation to the local community. The offenders are from 18 years upwards.  Their offences are considered to be low level less serious crime, and they are stringently risk assessed to ensure they are safe and suitable to work within the community. They are accompanied by staff who have been specially trained to deal with the diverse range of needs that can accompany an offender when they come through the system.
Community Payback has contributed to, or solely completed, the construction of three polytunnels, seven raised beds, 70m of post and rail fencing for the pig pens and they have dug and surfaced about 60m of paths. Most impressively they have dug by hand and wheelbarrowed several tonnes of earth and sand and gravel during the weeks-long digging out of the pond surrounding Newt Island
Outside of the Care Farm Community Payback has been instrumental in the creation of 15 community gardens, including creating Forest School areas in schools, planting community orchards with the Canal and River Trust, installing raised beds in a homeless hostel and in areas of social housing. Most impressively, one of the community gardens that they helped create and maintain has now won the Royal Horticultural Society ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood Award’ for the third consecutive year.

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