Caption: Sue Lam, Community Payback supervisor, and May Diskaya, CP coordinator, at a unpaid work project in Toxteth
People carrying out Community Payback who lack enough money for lunch are benefiting from a pioneering scheme in Liverpool that provides them with food.
The Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (M CRC) supervises offenders sentenced to carry out unpaid work across the county.
May Diskaya, a Community Payback coordinator, approached Support for Asylum Seekers (SAS), which is a destitution project backed by Churches Together in the Merseyside Region. The charity donated £1,000 which M CRC distributes to service users who are clearly in need.
M CRC’s emergency fund was launched last November. So far, 150 Pot Noodles and 50 porridges have been distributed, and 20 service users who were asylum seekers and also in acute need have been given a one-off grant to ease their plight.
There is provision that people preparing to complete unpaid work orders turn up in the right clothes and with their lunch.
May said: “It stands to reason that you cannot complete a day’s Community Payback if you are hungry. We noticed that some of our service users arrive with no food.
“Unpaid work is hard. It involves people making reparation by carrying out a range of tasks to improve their communities. We don’t want people failing on their order because they are hungry.
“It is terribly sad that in this day and age we have to do this, but providing food to the hungry on Community Payback is a logical step. The punishment isn’t that people ought to be hungry, but is that people can make reparations for the crimes they have committed. This fund helps makes that possible.”
M CRC provides the right clothing for those who need it. Tasks undertaken include helping community groups, churches, and schools with a wide range of
projects from grounds maintenance through to weeding, painting and decorating and creating planters for installation in parks.
Neil Cunningham, SAS coordinator, said: “May told us about the pressing need to help people who have no money for transport to probation nor lunch.
“SAS is happy to address that need via M CRC. The initiative is working so well that we’d like to expand the scheme by offering fresh fruit too. We are delighted to collaborate with M CRC and will continue to do so while funds permit.”
May added: “I am absolutely delighted SAS has given us this support.
“We can always tell who isn’t bringing food and who is genuinely struggling, and we are able to discretely hand it out when needed.”
Donations for SAS can be sent to: Neil Cunningham; SAS Co-ordinator for CTMR; c/o CTMR; Quaker Meeting House; 22 School Lane; Liverpool; L1 3BT.