Bayer Street Scouts in Coseley, Wolverhampton is a 102 year old scout club with a proud history. Its current location is its third and it has been based here for the last 40 years. The scout club is run by 12 scout leaders who are all volunteers and it caters for approximately 100 children aged 6 to 18 across three evenings per week. It is also used by other local groups for meetings and an elderly group hold their line dancing sessions there.
The building is owned by the council who have given it to the scout club on a long lease. However, the scout club are restricted from raising extra income from sub-letting the use of the building. The club are responsible for internal maintenance while the council look after the external grounds.
When Cheryl saw an advertisement for project funding (from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner) in the Safe and Sound Dudley local community safety partnership newsletter, she nominated Bayer Street Scouts for an internal redecoration project.
Cheryl and her husband Neil, who are both scout leaders at the club, were delighted when they learnt their application had been successful. Before the Community Payback team from Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC came in, the plaster was peeling off; it was damp, dark and dull. The garden had overgrown and there was no fence panel protection.
Community Payback Supervisor, Ian Hodgkins deployed a group of seven offenders, three days per week for six weeks – completing approximately 140 hours. The team completely redecorated two floors which included plastering any bare brick, making safe all electrical trunking, and painting all walls and wood work. Although it wasn’t part of the agreement, Ian’s team also decided to fix and paint the outside fence and cutaway overgrown bramble to make the space more pleasant and safe for the kids to use.
It’s been a really enjoyable project for staff as well as the offenders who have shown a gradual improvement and have benefitted from the decorating skills they have learnt whilst on the project.
Joe Brogan, one of the offenders who has worked on the entire project says,
I’m proud of the work and the end results and I feel happy that I’ve made a positive difference to the lives of local kids. The scout hut has really brightened up and has helped get lads working on the project off the street and out of prison. I’ve learnt new skills, not just decorating, but also people skills – like how to interact with different people.
Scout leader Neil Langford is overjoyed with the outcome,
Probation and Community Payback have done us a massive favour as we don’t have the time to do the type of work that was required. We’re always busy planning and running the activities. However, it has inspired us to stay on top of things and improve the scout hut and as a result we’ve recently had a massive clear-out.
We’re extremely delighted with the results – Community Payback has done a great job decorating inside, even matching the purple in our logo! They were only meant to decorate inside so we were astonished to find they had cleared the overgrowth outside.
By completing this work, Probation and the Police have changed a lot of lives. We hope working on the project has changed the offenders’ lives by showing them that being responsible, taking ownership of good work and staying disciplined is well thought of – they should stick to this type of work and forget about offending!
PCSO Cheryl Langford says,
I’m really proud of the building and the kids and their parents absolutely love it!
Notes for editors:
1. Each of the Community Safety Partnerships were invited by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to bid for money with a view to ‘Invest to Save’. On behalf of Safe and Sound Dudleys Community Safety Partnership Bob Dimmock applied for funding and was awarded £10,000. With this money he commissioned the Community Payback Team within Probation Service (now Community Rehabilitation Company) to engage in a number of projects that were identified through marketing. This project put forward by Cheryl Langford is one of a number of Community Payback projects authorised by Bob Dimmock.
The decision sheet from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office can be found online: www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/media/267134/wmpcc-043-2013-invest-to-save-november-13.pdf.
Bob Dimmock can be contacted by email: Bob.Dimmock@dudley.gov.uk.
2. Across Staffordshire and the West Midlands last year, over 506,000 hours of Community Payback were completed every year by almost 4,000 offenders on a community sentence. This equates to over £3 million worth of free labour provided to local communities as offenders pay back for the crimes they have committed.
Community Payback projects include litter picking, clearing dense undergrowth, repairing and redecorating community centres and removing graffiti. Offenders usually work as part of a team, monitored by a supervisor, and will work all day with short breaks, although there are some opportunities for individual placements.
3. For further information please contact:
Hardeep Singh, Senior Communications Officer, The Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company Limited
Direct: 0121 634 1357 | Mobile: 07930 565 223 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org