Offenders payback community by helping out at Fenland animal shelter
COMMUNITY Payback offenders have been helping out at a Fenland animal shelter to allow more money to be spent caring for pets.
Every fortnight, offenders have been carrying out maintenance work at the RSPCA’s Block Fen shelter, in Wimblington, doing gardening and cleaning duties.
Kirstyn Gaunt, deputy manager at Block Fen, said: “It does make a difference, they keep the grounds looking really nice.
“If they couldn’t help us out the way they do then we’d have to source somebody out, which would cost us money. That money could be better spent on the animals.
“We are making a good saving which all goes back to the animals.”
In the summer, the Community Payback team will work on the site once a week. Four offenders are currently on individual placements at Block Fen as part of their unpaid work orders.
The three men and a women are serving community sentences ranging from 150 hours to 300 hours for crimes such as theft and drink-driving. They work alongside staff exercising dogs, cleaning kennels and grooming cats.
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Mrs Gaunt said that some offenders - who have been recommended by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Probation Trust - volunteer at the shelter after completing their sentence. She said: “If more people are exercising the dogs and interacting with them, they are spending less time in their kennels. It’s a win-win.
“They really do put their hearts and souls into it. We treat them like any other volunteers. It works out really well.”
Alan Moore, Fenland Community Payback manager, said: “It is a punishment. The offenders on individual placements all work fulltime and this takes away their liberty for at least six hours a week.
“It’s making sure they give one day a week of their free time to charity. It’s good for the RSPCA. Like everybody, they’re facing financial constraints and volunteers can be hard to come by.”
To suggest a site for Community Payback see www.cambridgeshireprobation.org.uk