COMMUNITY work crews, under the guidance of Corrective Services NSW officers in Kempsey, have marked 13 years helping the northern NSW region by clocking up over 100,000 hours on much needed maintenance and groundskeeping.
The offenders, on Community Service and Intensive Corrections orders, have worked on six projects in the past year alone, equating to more than 8000 hours.
Kempsey Community Corrections manager Damien Baker said the program provided an important opportunity for offenders to give back to the community while learning job skills.
"The team has worked on six major projects across the region over the past year, as well as their ongoing work of service and maintenance," Mr Baker said.
"The program has been running for 13 years, delivered over $2 million in-kind support and has proven to be successful for not only the community but for giving offenders the opportunity to learn new things as well as giving back to the public.”
The program assists not-for-profit and other organisations, which may not have the resources to upkeep their facilities.
“We were contacted by a local real estate agent to assist an elderly war widow clean up her property prior to its sale. The property had been long overgrown,” Mr Baker said.
“In conjunction with Legacy, who provided a skip bin, and Scouts Australia, who arranged a garage sale, our crew removed the overgrown shrubbery, mowed, whipper-snipped and tidied up her yard.
“It was a real sense of achievement for all involved and the property was better placed to be sold.”
Other projects the crew have been involved in include:
• a total revamp of the Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre’s community garden
• ground maintenance in preparation for the Macksville Show
• clearing overgrown vegetation at Grassy Head Reserve
• extensive clearing, mowing and pruning to tidy up the grounds of the Bowraville Medical Centre which also included interior/exterior beautification.