Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne visited Adelaide House to congratulate Theresa Wimsey for work carried out by women on Community Payback.
Cllr O’Byrne, who represents the Warbreck ward, has been a long-time supporter of the work undertaken by the unique Community Payback team, following her job as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (M CRC) commissions Adelaide House Approved Premises to deliver a woman-only unpaid work project three-days-a-week undertaking work across the county.
Women on Community Payback are supervised by Theresa, together with her colleagues from Adelaide – including Pauline Riley, who drives the van and provides invaluable support. Many of the tasks are i
dentified by residents, police and Liverpool Council’s Community Streetscene team.
Cllr O’Byrne said: “I absolutely love what the team do. Their work is fantastic and a credit to the city.
“Theresa is a wonderful woman. She inspires the people she supervises, she brings life and energy to the project, and they tackle their work with enthusiasm.
“Often society stigmatises offenders. But if we are serious about reducing crime, then we need to do everything we can to rehabilitate people and help them reintegrate into society. That drive inspires Adelaide House’s approach.”
It is rare to have women-only Community Payback teams, even though evidence suggests it supports compliance and positive completions – and it is unique to have one based at an Approved Premises. The idea was developed by Adelaide’s chief Patricia Thomas.
Recent Community Payback tasks have included graffiti removal, shifting fly-tipping, public leaflet drops and litter-picking. Over Christmas the team packed food hampers for the needy.
Cllr O’Bryne added: “It really helps break down stereotypes when these women take part in the ward clean-ups that we run. Not only do they make a tremendous difference to the community, they also make people less fearful of crime.”
Theresa, who won an Exceptional Woman of the Year Award for her work in criminal justice, was convicted of ABH in 2006. She was herself sentenced to stay at Adelaide House and supervised by probation. She then volunteered for the organisation before becoming a member of staff.
She said: “That’s why I am so passionate about it. I know we can all make bad mistakes, I know what it’s like to lose your family and face the particular hardships that women face when they get sentenced.
“I also see on a daily basis the impact Community Payback can have. I work alongside the women, I learn about what’s really going on in their lives, and that means I can offer support and can really help signpost them to the services they need.
“I’m not shy in talking about what happened to me and if that can help someone else to make the right choices then I am happy.”
Follow Theresa’s community transforming work on Twitter @AdelaideCPB and also @Adelaide_ House.
Adelaide House is an accredited ‘Enabling Environment’ assessed independently by the Royal College of Psychiatry, for both the women they accommodate and supervise on the Community Payback project.
Women completing unpaid work orders often also get the chance to gain qualifications, such as: first aid, food hygiene and preparation.