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Offenders plant 3,000 snowdrops
Published 24/03/14



OFFENDERS helped to plant 3,000 snowdrops at All Saints Church, Dunsden Green, as part of a community payback scheme.

The men were all serving community service sentences and helped out at the church for free.

Parishioner John Bodman, who looks after the churchyard, said the offenders had made a real difference.

He added: “The are doing the work in the churchyard for free which we could not afford to employ someone to do te work. Community Payback is providing that facility. They always say how much they enjoy coming here and working outside and those who have come back a number of times can see the difference it has made to the churchyard. They have resurrected it.”

The offenders have been working at the church every two to three weeks for the past eight months after Mr Bodman called the Thames Valley Probation Trust to ask for their help.


Mr Bodman, who lives in Emmer Green, continued: “About two years ago the churchyard was deteriorating really quickly. We have a verey elderly congrgation and most of them are unable to work in the churchyard.”

The offenders have put in ???? hours tidying up the churchyard and carrying out general maintenance tasks. They have also helped to renovate a flint wall, saving the church a considerable sum of money.

Parishioners have been raising money for the last six years to plant 1,000 snowdrops each winter. The plan is to plant enough of the flowers to be able to hold ‘snowdrop Sunday’ events in the future.

The offenders are warmly welcomed by the congregation, some of whom come along and work with them in the churchyard. Others send cakes for them to enjoy during their tea break.

One of the offenders who gave his name as Ronald said: “I enjoy the job satisfaction. I hope that one day someone can pass this on to me and look after my grave. We get treated like humans here. We are here to help. There are a couple of churches where people work alongside you which is fantastic.”

Any community or not-for-profit group can request help from a community payback team.

Becky Eggleton, Community Payback supervisor, said: “Most of the offenders are fairly positive towards it, especially when you have a job where you can see the benefits and you are working with people. Yes, it is a punishment but the work they do is worthwhile.”

All Saints Church also benefits from the help of Sonning Common Green Gym volunteers. For the last two years, the volunteers have helped to lay a Midland-style hedge and have installed a fence and five-panel gate.



1402264

John Bodman oversees Community Payback workers planting 3,000 snowdrops at All Saints Church, Dunsden Green.



1402265/1402266

Chris and Sheelagh Ash, of Sonning Common Green Gym, have helped to lay a Midland-style hedge and install this new fencing at the churchyard.



OFFENDERS helped to plant 3,000 snowdrops at a church as part of the Community Payback scheme.

The men have been helping out at All Saints’ Church in Dunsden Green as part of their sentences, visiting every two to three weeks for the past nine months.

Working in groups averaging seven men, they have tidied up the churchyard and carried out general maintenance tasks as well as helping to renovate a flint wall.

The free labour — almost 500 man hours so far — has saved the church a considerable sum of money.

Parishioner John Bodman, who looks after the churchyard, said the men had made a real difference.

He said: “They are doing work in the churchyard which we could not afford to employ someone to do.

“They always say how much they enjoy coming here and working outside and those who have come back a number of times can see the difference it has made.”

Mr Bodman, from Emmer Green, asked the Thames Valley Probation Trust for help.

He said: “About two years ago the churchyard was deteriorating really quickly. We have a very elderly congregation and most of them are unable to work in the churchyard.”

Parishioners have been raising money for the last six years to plant 1,000 snowdrops each winter and the plan is to plant enough of the bulbs to be able to hold Snowdrop Sunday events.

The offenders have been welcomed by the congregation, some of whom come along to work with them in the churchyard. Others send cakes for them to enjoy during their tea breaks. One offender, who gave his name as Ronald, said: “I enjoy the job satisfaction. I hope that one day someone can pass this on to me and look after my grave.

“We get treated like humans here. We are here to help. There are a couple of churches where people work alongside you, which is fantastic.”

Any community or not-for-profit group can request help from a Community Payback team.

Becky Eggleton, Community Payback supervisor, said: “Most of the offenders are fairly positive towards it, especially when you have a job where you can see the benefits and you are working with people. Yes, it is a punishment but the work they do is worthwhile.”

All Saints’ Church also benefits from the help of Sonning Common Green Gym volunteers. For the last two years, the volunteers have helped to lay a Midland-style hedge and have installed a fence and five-panel gate.

Published 24/03/14

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