Celebrity gardener and former pop star Kim Wilde had the chance to see the work that is carried out by offenders sentenced to Compulsory Unpaid Work orders when she launched the Stevenage Britain in Bloom campaign last week (29th March).
As part of the launch, bird boxes that have been made by offenders supervised by the National Probation Service (Hertfordshire) were presented to local community groups and individuals. The launch co-incided with the national "Clean Up" week to highlight the benefits of community sentences to local residents.
Over 80,000 Compulsory Unpaid Work hours are carried out by offenders in Hertfordshire each year. This amounts to over £300,000 worth of work. Offenders take part in a variety of projects including landscaping and gardening, litterpicking and graffiti removal, painting and decorating and minor building maintenance. Individual placements are organised in charity shops where offenders sort and launder donated clothes. Bird boxes and benches are also made by the offenders at the Wheels workshop in Stevenage and these are given to local organisations and schools.
Kim Wilde launched Stevenage’s Britain in Bloom quest at Fairlands Valley Park farmhouse where she helped local school children and adults with learning difficulties to plant Victorian themed displays and an apple orchard.