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Offenders help to refurbish homeless hostels

PUBLISHED: 14:00 28 June 2019

One of the refurbished kitchen areas at the Riverside hostel. Picture: Linstock

One of the refurbished kitchen areas at the Riverside hostel. Picture: Linstock

Linstock

Hostels used by homeless families have a new look - thanks to a group of criminals.

The scheme has seen offenders who have been sentenced to complete an unpaid work requirement take part in the hostel refurbishment project.

They have spent the past two years working on three of the four hostels that Barking and Dagenham Council uses for temporary accommodation - Butler Court, Riverside and Brocklebank.

Organised by the London Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) in partnership with the council, it has seen 10 offenders visit the hostels every Sunday, completing some of the hours they have been ordered to spend giving back to the community.

All are already in education or employment, with qualified plumbers, plasterers and painters among the group ensuring that high quality work is carried out.

They work under close supervision and in communal areas with CCTV coverage.

Paul Perry, hostel services manager at Barking and Dagenham Council said: "As a team we are very grateful for the work that the community payback team has done and very proud of the relationship that we have forged.

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"I am astounded that they have progressed so far so soon."

Work at Butler Court - a short term family hostel with 77 flats - featured a refurbishment of all the communal areas including kitchens and bathrooms.

Four benches were also built and painted in the communal gardens.

At Brocklebank, which provides long term accommodation for single people, all the communal areas and vacant rooms were repainted.

The Riverside hostel saw 12 bedrooms and kitchens redecorated, with the outside of the building also painted.

Unpaid work requirements will still be carried out at all three hostels as part of an ongoing maintenance programme.

Cheryl Deane, community payback manager at London CRC, said: "This is one project that service users want to attend. There are 10 places available and every week it is completely full, which is very unusual.

"I am proud that we have forged this partnership that really does reduce reoffending and rehabilitate offenders whilst paying back to the parts of the community that need it the most."

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