Payback Supports Hastings Community Hub
A community association has thanked offenders on probation for the role they have played in safeguarding the future of a vital local facility.
Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust (SSPT) has been supporting Ore Community Association in Hastings for the last two years through its Community Payback scheme. Offenders sentenced by the courts to carry out unpaid work have helped revamp Ore Community Centre.
The well-used facility was threatened with closure earlier this year but was saved when owner East Sussex County Council agreed to hand over the running of the centre to a community trust.
Centre manager Mags Pawson said: "Part of the reason we were able to take over the centre was due to the work Community Payback has done over the last two years to improve the condition of the building and grounds.
"As a charity we have very limited funds, so the ongoing support of Community Payback will be vital in ensuring we are able to continue operating."
Groups of up to 10 offenders have worked at the centre one day a week. They have helped redecorate most of the interior, solved damp problems, landscaped a new garden and created an outdoor seating area. Offenders also carry out general maintenance and gardening.
Mags added: "The centre was very dingy, unkempt and looked uninviting when I first came but with the offenders help it has been transformed.
"They have always been polite and friendly and we get on very well, enjoy a laugh and a joke but they are always respectful of any centre users who may be here."
SSPT Community Payback manager Rosie Martin, said: "This is a very good project for us because it supports a well-used facility and allows offenders to pay back to the local community in a very worthwhile way."
For more information about Community Payback, and to nominate work for offenders to carry out in your neighbourhood, visit our Community Payback pages.