80 people subject to CPOs spent more than 4150 hours completing the work
An overgrown and underused piece of land in Girvan has been transformed into a thriving public space, after dozens of people were put to work through Community Payback Orders. South Ayrshire Council oversaw the work at Girvan's Golf Course Road over a 15 month period.
The project created a community garden and allotment on unused land next to Girvan Golf Clubhouse through Community Payback Orders (CPOs) served through Ayr Sheriff Court. CPOs are a positive alternative to a prison sentence which provides the offender with an opportunity to contribute in a positive way to local communities.
80 people subject to CPOs spent more than 4150 hours completing the work, which got underway in March 2015. The project made clever use of recycled goods, with excess slabs from a regeneration project in Ayr reused, excess soil brought in from a building site in Girvan, with fencing created from palates donated by Jewson's. Vegetable seeds and fruit trees were paid for by goods produced by people involved in the project.
Councillor Rita Miller, South Ayrshire Council's Health and Social Care Portfolio Holder, said the benefits were plain to see, "The site at Girvan was badly overgrown, and completely inaccessible – the new garden changes all that for the better.
"The people involved have shown commitment and drive to complete the project, and with maintenance ongoing the benefits to the local community will be felt for the long term.
"After this successful pilot there are also plans to donate the fruit and vegetables being grown on site to local charities, something that I'm sure will be broadly welcomed."
Work carried out via CPOs does not replace paid employment but enhance work carried out by the Council and community groups throughout South Ayrshire. Offenders pay in time and hard work while developing new skills and confronting their offending behaviour.
The community payback garden is a partnership between South Ayrshire Council's Criminal Justice team and Sport and Leisure Services.