Earlier this week I went to view the work of a Community Payback team who had been working in Quinton.
Community Payback is a punishment handed out by the courts and led by the Probation Service. The campaign Justice Seen, Justice Done has raised awareness of the Community Payback scheme around the country this year.
The kind of work which offenders working under the Community Payback scheme can do includes removing graffiti and litter, clearing dense undergrowth, decorating community centres, etc. In our case, we arranged for them to cut back hedges in Blandford Road, Quinton, which were so overgrown they were halfway across the pavement.
The hedge pictured above was probably the worst of the lot and was really blocking the pavement for residents who wanted to get by. Viewing the finished work with me are Quinton Councillor Jane James, and satisfied Blandford Rd resident, Keith.
There are a number of rules and regulations governing the Community Payback scheme, making it quite bureaucratic. For this reason the team who came to Quinton were only able to trim back the hedges where they fronted on to public spaces such as the pavement, and not where they ran between two private houses for example.
For this reason, some of the hedges look rather strange – trimmed back on one side, but overgrown where they go off at right angles. However perhaps the residents will feel enthused to finish the job where the hedges are on their property. At least the pavements are now clear so that mums with pushchairs, the disabled, and people such as Keith and his dogs, can now walk past freely without having to step into the road.