Young offenders forced to do community service

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Young offenders are carrying out community punishment across the county and need new projects to support.

The East Sussex Youth Offending Team (YOT) is searching for new jobs that, under strict supervision, young offenders could get involved with as part of their community payback.

The team is currently helping 24 different projects across the county with approximately 50 young offenders, aged 10-18, involved as part of their court orders.

There are some constraints to what they can do but all ideas will be considered and the YOT wants to hear from any parish councils, local voluntary or community groups or clubs that might have ideas.

Cllr Nick Bennett said, “Our Youth Offending Team works with a large group of young people who have been given court orders and, as part of that, they have to carry out unpaid work in the community.

“It’s a very well managed and highly-effective scheme that helps young people make amends for whatever they have done, by making a positive contribution in the local community.”

Cllr Bennett said the reparation schemes, often known as community payback, can be far more effective than custodial sentences at positively helping and rehabilitating young people who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

“These work programmes are not a soft option. They involve young people facing up to what they have done and understanding that they need to put something back into the community to make amends.”

A small team of workers from the YOT manage, supervise and control the work of the young people involved under strict conditions.

The schemes they are currently working on are wide-ranging but include some animal welfare projects with the RSPCA, supporting Food Bank which provides food for those who don’t have the means to buy it themselves, helping charity shops, and practical clean up or decorating projects.

But the team wants to hear from more local organisations and groups with ideas for projects that might benefit from the involvement of these young people.

Cllr Bennett said, “We are already working on a number of projects and that has increased considerably in the past couple of years. However, we want to ensure we cover as much of the county as possible and that all areas get to benefit.”

Anyone who has a project they think might fit the bill should contact Jane Tamba in the youth offending team on 466633 or email jane.tamba@eastsussex.gov.uk

For more information on the Youth Offending Team visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/youthoffending