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Offenders Payback Park to Delight of Local Community

Offenders have completed over 600 hours of unpaid work as part of their Community Payback orders at Brookvale Park in Erdington so that it can continue to be enjoyed by the local community.

Offenders, supervised by Staffordshire & West Midlands (SWM) Probation Trust, have been hard at work clearing paths, cutting back vegetation and painting railings, and have even created a wildlife conservation area.

Park Keeper Paddy Morrisey said: “The offenders have done a cracking job, and the park is looking great. The local residents group are delighted and I hope it will encourage more local people to visit the park and enjoy the area.”

The project is part of a wider scheme of work in the Witton lakes area, which began in 2009 under the national ‘Justice Seen, Justice Done’ initiative. Offenders have worked weekends at Brookvale park since October 2010.

Fotoulla Lytras, from the Magnet Centre for Midlands Greek Cypriots, leads Friends of Brookvale Park, which is a local partnership which also includes the local residents’ group, the park keeper and SWM Probation Trust.

She said: “I’m delighted that the offenders’ work is producing such positive results. The project is a fine example of how different organisations can work together to produce a positive change to benefit the local community.”

The nearby Greek Orthodox church of Holy Trinity and St Luke held a special ceremony on 9 January to celebrate the work and to bless the park’s lake and grounds. Sheku Choudhury, Unit Manager of Perry Barr Community Payback Unit, said: “This event recognises the significant contribution that has been made by our Community Payback teams over the previous months. It is just one of many projects where offenders are repaying their debt to society across Birmingham.”

The Project was managed by Bally Uppal, Probation Service Officer and supervised by Sylven Bernard, Probation Service Officer Supervisor. Bally Uppal said: “The standard of work completed by the offenders require that the work is purposeful and has a clearly visible output of value to others and the immediate community.”

Paul Sabapathy CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of West Midlands, attended the ceremony. He added: “I commend all those involved, and hope that the Friends of Brookvale Park partnership will continue to grow from strength to strength.”

Every year, Staffordshire & West Midlands Probation Trust oversees over 580,000 hours of Community Payback work which is completed by over 4,000 offenders on a community sentence. This equates to over three million pounds’ worth of free labour provided to local communities as offenders pay back for the crimes they have committed. Community Payback projects range from litter removal to clearing dense under growth, and environmental projects through repairing and redecorating community centres or removing graffiti.  Offenders work all day, with short breaks, as part of a team. There are some opportunities for individual placements, for example, working in charity shops. All Community Payback placements are thoroughly risk assessed and closely supervised by staff trained in health and safety and first aid.

If an offender does not comply with the strict rules of Community Payback, they face being returned to court for further punishment, which could be a prison sentence.

To nominate a project for Community Payback, please go to or phone 0121 248 2688.

To be considered, the project must meet the following criteria:

  • It must benefit the local community
  • It must not take paid work away from others
  • No one must make a profit from the work
  • It must be challenging and demanding
  • It must be worthwhile and constructive
  • Offenders must be seen to be putting something back into the community.

digging brookvale


partnership team and offenders

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