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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Offenders help give Cumbrian museum building a makeover

A Grade-II listed building bequeathed to the people of Workington as a museum is undergoing a major facelift by offenders carrying out community payback as part of their sentence.

Helena Thompson photo
Community payback supervisor Ian Bridge who is leading the team

The scheme, run by Cumbria Probation Trust (CPT) in partnership with the Helena Thompson Museum on Park End Road, has seen teams of unpaid workers descend on the site to relay paths, paint doors and fences, and work on the extensive gardens.

That work moves a further stage forward this week when community payback workers will dig a site and build a rock garden in the grounds.

This will take place under the supervision of experts from Myerscough College and could see the participants gain an NVQ in horticulture.

Helen Fowler, museum director, said: “The work they have done so far is of a very high standard.

“The building has not really had any money spent on it for a good 10 years so they had a fair bit on their plate – but the work they have done is phenomenal and we couldn’t have done it without community payback.”

Teresa Monaghan-Morley, is the Community Payback officer who seeks out suitable schemes such as this one in the areas for CPT.

She said: “Schemes like this are just part of the way offenders can start to make amends.”

Meanwhile, unpaid workers from the community payback scheme have been removing graffiti and making good any surfaces before fresh murals were painted.

The Carlisle subways involved lead to the Sands Centre and Bitts Park, and are being transformed by local artist Rosemary Cunningham and father and daughter, Paul and Lydia Leith.

The scheme is a joint project with the Probation Trust working closely with Carlisle City Council.

The trust is grateful to Dulux who have donated the paint for the project via their ‘Let’s Colour’ programme. This is aimed at making a positive difference to people’s lives by creating a better living environment.

John Morley, programme supervisor of CPT: “We are committed to making sure that offenders put something back into the communities they have damaged. At the same time as improving local areas for the residents, projects like these enable them to learn vital skills which may help them find jobs and develop careers.”

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