Community Payback Participants Support Response To COVID-19
Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) have mobilised their participants across the region to be part of the community response to COVID-19, making over 1,000 masks and scrub bags for health workers and cooking and transporting meals to local people struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic.
Community Payback is a sentence made by the courts. Sentences vary between 40 and 300 hours of Unpaid Work, with participants working at least 7 hours a week to finish the requirement within 12 months. As well as making amends to the community, the work may also help participants to learn new skills and get on better with those around them.
Following the coronavirus outbreak and in order to comply with NHS and government guidance, much of the traditional delivery of Unpaid Work has been suspended while social distancing measures are in effect. But placing education, training and employment at the heart of their work, Durham Tees Valley CRC have adapted the programmes they offer to keep participants active and able to complete their hours safely; whilst continuing to meet the needs of the community in practical ways.
Through a partnership with Three13, participants can choose to complete a sewing and textile skills ‘Project in a box’. Following a day of training, participants complete their hours from home, putting their new skills to use by machine-stitching face coverings and scrub bags to be donated to the Therapeutic Care Team at James Cook University Hospital. The drawstring scrub bags hold a full set of work clothes so they can be placed straight into the washing machine when returning home (without taking them out of the bag). This is a safe way to reduce cross-contamination and protect families of health workers.
Natalie Chaffer, Senior Therapeutic Support Lead, said “Our team, Therapeutic Care, and staff, trust wide, would like to thank your team for providing the masks that were kindly made and donated to the trust for staff and patients use. We are so grateful for the amount of effort that was put in to make and get these to us.”
Participants completing their Unpaid Work Requirement are also able to learn new cooking skills with Three13, by preparing meals for disadvantaged families in the Stockton area. Their hard work is providing them with valuable experience whilst reducing food waste; preparing meals from donated food stock and transporting them to the charity who distributes them to those in need. Participants also have the chance to gain a food hygiene qualification.
“This has been an innovative project, in response to the pandemic, which has allowed our participants to continue to serve the community they live in and provide a valuable service to their local hospital. It’s been important for both participants and the community that throughout the lockdowns we have managed to keep Unpaid Work going, safely within Government guidelines.”, shared Kelly Robinson, Deputy Manager Unpaid Work.