Community Service

About Community Service

Each year people subject to a community service order deliver an average of 116,000 hours of unpaid work to the community in Northern Ireland.

Community Service is one of the most successful court sentences in terms of preventing re-offending. Three out of four people who complete community service do not re-offend within one year.

Some examples of community service work are environmental and conservation projects, painting and decorating, contributing to community clean-ups, working in animal shelters or assisting disabled people.  The Community Service sentence enables pay back to the community for the harm that has been caused.  The work is either under the guidance of our supervisor or staff in the host organisation.

We can’t do this without your help!  We need to know about projects you think we could work on.

Listen to the Probation Matters podcast where a Probation Service Officer explains what an Enhanced Combination Order and a Community Service Order is, what they entail and how they help change lives for safer communities. There are also interviews with Service Users who have received these Court sentences.

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A project must meet the following criteria:

  • It must benefit the local community
  • It must not take paid work away from others
  • No one must make a profit from the work
  • It must be constructive and worthwhile
  • It must be challenging and demanding
  • Service Users must be seen to be putting something back into the local community
  • Public liability insurance must be in place
  • It must be within our capabilities and comply with health and safety standards

The Community Service team will assess the project for suitability and for health and safety implications.

Graffiti Removal Service

Belfast City Council area

Belfast City Council has partnered with Probation to deliver a Graffiti Removal Service for the city. It provides an opportunity for those on Community Service to clean up defaced areas in Belfast. 

To request graffiti removal in your area contact Belfast City Council on (028) 9027 0230 or go to and search for “Report a street cleaning issue”. You can also find out more information about the Graffiti Removal Service by downloading the Graffiti Removal Service leaflet.

Photo of Community Service Graffiti Removal Scheme Belfast Writers Square

Derry City and Strabane District Council area

Derry City & Strabane District Council has partnered with Probation to provide a graffiti removal service for the North West. The service, with the work provided by our Community Service teams, will remove non-contentious graffiti across the city, to deliver a cleaner environment for residents and tourists alike.

To request graffiti removal scheme suitability check in your area contact Derry City & Strabane District Council at to report unsightly graffiti in your area.


A service user removing graffiti from outside the Guild Hall, Derry City and Strabane District Council


Community Service Feedback

Here is some of the feedback Probation has received from community groups who have benefited from Community Service:

Glenbank Community Centre, Belfast

“Community service is a vital resource for us, one we can’t do without. We have no other way of providing the services we receive. The guys cut the grass, weed and generally tidy the whole place up. We have a childcare service here and we wouldn’t be able to let the children go outside if it wasn’t for the work Probation does in cutting the grass area around the playground, it would just be too dangerous. As a community organisation ourselves, we are glad to be able to be in a position to help in the reparative process. After all many of these guys come from the surrounding communities, it’s good for us to feel like the process of giving back to the community is of a mutual benefit.”

St Columbs Park House, Derry/Londonderry

“Probation has been a key partner with St Columb’s Park House for many years supporting the development and maintenance of the historic house and the environs. Recently the team from community service have been active in clearing debris and litter from the grounds, keeping the grass and plants tidy and healthy and the upkeep of the building. The building is listed and as such needs a lot of maintenance and painting to keep it in excellent condition. As a small charity we would not be able to be able to keep this huge building and grounds in such great condition without the help and support from the team at Probation.”

Sarah Crothers Centre, Lisburn

“We are delighted and grateful for the work done, and the squad have interacted well with those who use the centre.”