OFFENDERS carrying out Community Payback are on the right track after creating a new woodland path, which they named Churchill Wood, in Sandown Bay.
Access to public land has been vastly improved thanks to a joint project between the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), Arc Consulting and the Bay Coastal Community Team.
Teams of up to eight people on Community Payback have made a path which leads to the Pavilion associated with the location for the famous PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) and the Lost Duver nature reserve. The teams have been working on the site adjacent to Browns Golf Course since January and are managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight CRC supervisors.
Community Payback is a sentence made by the courts that involves offenders doing unpaid work for between 40 to 300 hours as reparation for their crime.
Arnie Larcombe, 26, has done several sessions at the nature reserve. He is completing 150 hours of Community Payback for assault.
He said: “It’s been hard work but I’m really pleased to have been involved in this project. I enjoy working outside and I’m planning to continue as a volunteer once I’ve finished my hours.”
Community Payback is also creating a pathway through the six-foot high reed beds so that the public will eventually be able to walk through the wetland and enjoy stunning wildlife.
Matt Budd, Hampshire & Isle of Wight CRC Community Payback Co-ordinator, said:
“We run many projects for community benefit and are always interested to hear from charity and not-for-profit groups who need help. This project has been especially exciting due to the speed with which the land has been redeveloped.”
Ian Boyd, Director of Arc Consulting, which is restoring the area as part of the Bay Coastal Community mission, said: “The work carried out is marvellous.
“We have limited funds for the project, much of the material has been donated, but the hours of work going into clearing the woodland, digging out the pathway, clearing clutter and creating a bridge has been fantastic.
“It’s revitalised the woodland as we now have proper access for conservation work and the whole project has added another good reason to visit the Bay!
“Community Payback teams have also cleared the vegetation around the car park making it feel safer and more inviting. And it’s been great to see service users working on the land and seeing their achievements.”