Spring clean thanks to young offenders

As reported in the Stretford and Urmston Messenger May 28th 2009 by Robert Downes

YOUNG offenders are to be drafted in to a Stretford park to complete work the council can’t afford to do itself.

After the town hall learned it had failed for a second time to access millions in Lottery funding to give Longford Park a major overhaul, park bosses contacted Trafford’s probation service requesting free labour from those sentenced for their crimes through community service schemes.

The service was only too happy to help, and in the next few weeks teams of young offenders will be working on restoring walls near the park’s rose garden.

Now, probation service bosses have contacted the Friends of Longford Park to offer more help if they want it.

The probation service’s Debbie Wilford said: “We do all sorts, cutting back, tidying up hedging, planting, and generally making sure the parks safe to use for the public.

“The people taking part have commited offences such as drunk driving or affray. None of them would be a danger to the public.”

“To me it sounds like a really good idea,” said the Friends’ John Fitzgerald.

“It’s clearly a positive step but the council will have to authorise it first,” he added.

Executive councillor Jonathan Coupe said: “We have been in discussions with the probation service about using the community payback scheme to help complete projects in a number of Trafford parks.

“The walls in the rose garden at Longford Park are on this list as they are in need of repair, however this work is not something that was part of the HLF bid. We are really keen to work in partnership with other organisations and local people to achieve our goal of making Trafford a greener borough.”