Plymouth’s community reparation scheme continues through Coronavirus pandemic 

Young offenders in Plymouth are continuing to make amends for the crimes they have committed by taking part in a community reparation project.

Since the country has been in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Youth Offending Team have had to re-think their ways of working, and ways in which they continue to work with young people within the criminal justice system.

Due to social distancing restrictions it’s not been possible for the young people to come together and work on community projects as they would normally do. So instead they have been writing letters of thanks to key workers in the NHS and police, as a way of giving back to their communities.

Councillor Jemima Laing, Cabinet Member for Children and Young people said: “It is absolutely vital that our Youth Offending team are able to continue to work with these young people, help them take responsibillity for their actions and make amends for the crimes they have committed. I’m really pleased to see that we have been able to continue to work with those young people and help them give back to some of our key workers, as the city works together to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.”

At the beginning of the COVID 19 lockdown, Plymouth was identified as a national lead in its approach to the continuation of reparation and support to young people. The creative approach to this work has been recognised by the Youth Justice Board as an example of good practice to other YOTs nationally who have now adopted similar practices.

Local charity Routeways have also benefitted from this work. Two victims of crime requested that reparation benefit this local charity which supports disadvantaged local children and families. The young person started this project prior to the lockdown but with some support they were able to complete the planters while at home and fill them ready to be delivered.

Mark Collings, the CEO of Routeways said: “The planters are beautiful. We really appreciate the efforts that went into making them and they will provide a lot of pleasure to a lot of people for a long time.”

Reparation is a practical way to pay back the harm caused by young people who commit offences, either by directly repairing the harm or through constructive work to help the local community. When a young person is given a court order they will work with the Youth Offending Team to take part in a project in their local area.

Youth Offending Worker Mike Vosper said: “These sort of projects give those young people who have made a mistake the chance to really make amends in their local community. It’s not about punishing these young people but helping them to understand the impact their behaviour has had so they make better life choices in the future.”

The YOT are constantly looking for new projects, so if you think you have one that may be suitable, please contact them on 01752 306999 or email YouthOffendingReparation@plymouth.gov.uk.

You can find out more about the Youth Offending Teams other community projects here.