Sudbury: Council and youth group back new project

A NEW project in Sudbury is enabling young people on reparation orders to give something back to their community and gain valuable work experience along the way.

The initiative is a partnership between Catch 22 - which works in prisons and the community with young and adult offenders - and Babergh’s District Council’s Be Active Team, with Sudbury Town Council. It centres around The Hub youth project which is based at Sudbury’s Belle Vue House.

Town council ranger, Bradley Smith, who is also a lead volunteer for The Hub, said the project would give young offenders a chance to learn useful skills while also being of great benefit to the people of Sudbury.

He added: “The people from Catch 22 are very hard working and really want to make a difference and repay the community for their criminal actions. We have now gone from providing one day’s work a week to offering two days a week, and as a town council, we hope to keep this partnership up and running for years to come and build on it.”

According to Louise Barnett, reparation and mentoring officer for Catch 22, the initiative has already been beneficial to all parties concerned. She said: “Some of the young people have not only completed their hours without moaning, but because they are helping the community and it’s all interesting for them, they have enjoyed the work.

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“Yes it is hard work but I don’t see reparation hours like community service as it used to be. I see it as paying back to the community, learning new skills, building their confidence, meeting new people that they probably would not have spoken to before, getting to know what is involved in being a community warden and what they have to do in their town.”

Among tasks the youngsters have undertaken so far are clearing up the BMX Park at Belle Vue House, weeding, painting and cutting back bushes. Although the participants found it “hard work”, they enjoyed working as a team.

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One of them said: “Me and a young lad helped the wardens remove some graffiti off walls in Glemsford. I didn’t realise how much work and money goes into removing graffiti, but after having done this for a day, if I ever see anyone doing graffiti again, I will say something to them.”

Babergh’s Be Active community development officer, Steph Lloyd said: “A project like Catch 22 gives the young person a chance to see the impact their negative actions has had on innocent parties, and it enables them to reflect on how this has made others feel.

“This initiative offers a second chance, and a way to move forward and start feeling part of something positive again.”

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