Swindon AdvertiserOffenders’ hard work has transformed scruffy square (From Swindon Advertiser)

Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us

Offenders’ hard work has transformed scruffy square

Swindon Advertiser: Community Payback Supervisor Doug Mack standing with offenders clearing the area around Sussex Square Community Payback Supervisor Doug Mack standing with offenders clearing the area around Sussex Square

OFFENDERS have given back to the community after transforming Walcot’s Sussex Square.

Over the past few months the grass and hedges lining the buildings around the square have grown out of control and unkempt, with visitors discarding their rubbish in the long grass and the bushes and leaving the place untidy.

After numerous complaints from residents and the people who work in the square, Councillor Abdul Amin (Lab, Walcot and Park North) contacted the Community Payback team at the Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company (BGSW CRC) and arranged for a team to come out and clear up the site.

Coun Amin said: “Sussex Square has become very overgrown with bushes and become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, and I have had a lot of residents come to me asking for it to be tidied up. I contacted the Community Payback team and arranged for a group of them to come out and help.

“They have been cutting back the bushes and hedgerows and cleaning out the rubbish, just to make it a nicer place to go.

“Hopefully if it is kept nicely now fewer people will want to make it untidy and it could reduce the anti-social behaviour.”

In the past, chairman of the Charity Shop and Library, Peter Mallinson, said the state of the square had grown so bad that visitors described it as a bomb site.

He said: “Some visitors coming to Sussex Square have said it looks like Beirut with all the weeds growing everywhere and the shutters.

“It’s not good for the community looking like that. It looks like people don’t care about the community and that means the youths don’t think it’s worth caring about.”

Debbie Estarbrook, manager at the Charity Shop and Library, said that since the work has been carried out the Square is a much nicer place to work.

She said: “They really have done a brilliant job.

“Before they did anything is was so overgrown and untidy. Now it’s far more respectable and I do feel happier about coming to work. It just looks nicer.

“I know it will all be knocked down in a year or two but it really does make a difference.”

Doug Mack, Community Payback Supervisor, said the team of five offenders had been working very hard to clear the Square.

He said: “The main purpose of clearing out places like this is to give something back to the community.

“But it’s also about experience, and they are picking up skills which could help them to find a job.

“They’ve worked really hard and made a real difference to the Square. Some of the offenders find it quite hard but generally they got on with it quite well.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:23am Thu 10 Jul 14

DiDiDI says...

Great stuff, now can we have them to tidy up round Abbey Meads, where the council seem to think that no-one walks anywhere, so the hedges and brambles don't need cutting back. The footpaths round the estate are a nightmare.
Great stuff, now can we have them to tidy up round Abbey Meads, where the council seem to think that no-one walks anywhere, so the hedges and brambles don't need cutting back. The footpaths round the estate are a nightmare. DiDiDI
  • Score: 4

9:21am Thu 10 Jul 14

Davey Gravey says...

Although this is a positive thing, the reason the town is a mess is due to council cut backs. The grass verges are a disgrace and the guys on mowers are becoming an endangered species.
Although this is a positive thing, the reason the town is a mess is due to council cut backs. The grass verges are a disgrace and the guys on mowers are becoming an endangered species. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 3

10:29am Thu 10 Jul 14

Peter Mallinson says...

I would like to thank the Community Payback team for their great work over two visits to Sussex Square, they have done a magnificent job.

However, I have had several phone calls today to say that after all their work, people unknown have returned and emptied a number of rubbish bins in the square.

The place at the moment is looking awful, but as I write this comment some local youths have volunteered and are out there litter picking.

It just shows that all is not lost.
I would like to thank the Community Payback team for their great work over two visits to Sussex Square, they have done a magnificent job. However, I have had several phone calls today to say that after all their work, people unknown have returned and emptied a number of rubbish bins in the square. The place at the moment is looking awful, but as I write this comment some local youths have volunteered and are out there litter picking. It just shows that all is not lost. Peter Mallinson
  • Score: 8
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree