Santa is delighted to see young Cuan pick up his balloon and sweets, with a little help from Michael Maitland, Probation Community Services Offer, Nurse Geraldine Lavery, and Nurse Leah Kidd

Probation’s Community Service help Santa at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children

Santa Claus was helped by Community Service as he visited the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to deliver some festive joy to the children.

Now in its Eighteenth year, Michael Maitland, Probation Services Officer, has worked closely with Santa, Community Service and the Royal Belfast Hospital to bring a little Christmas cheer to kids spending this time of year in hospital.

Michael Maitland Said, “It’s a great opportunity for Community Service to give back to the community and to the Children’s Hospital. It has a positive impact on the kids, who always love to see Santa, and on those fulfilling their Community Service order, as they see how others react to their good work. It allows them to make a difference, to other people’s lives and to their own.”

Every year Community Service help Santa to give out balloons and sweets to the children coming into and out of the hospital. Once all the balloons and sweets were given out, Santa headed back to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas Eve.

Community Service is unpaid work, where individuals pay back to the community, in a positive way, to address the harm caused by their offending.

Probation is responsible for supervising people who are on a Community Service Order, which is a sentence given by a Judge to someone convicted of a crime.

Community Service is effective in reducing reoffending and benefiting the community: –

  • Three out of four people who complete community service are not reconvicted in two years.
  • Community Service Orders have the lowest reconviction rates of all community sentences in Northern Ireland.
  • It is a visible and practical method of ensuring offenders pay something back to the community.
  • Community Service helps offenders to develop practical and social skills to help them out of crime.
  • Probation staff supervise these sentences robustly and if someone breaches their
    sentence they are returned to court.
  • Every year, over 116,000 unpaid hours of work, worth over £900,000, are completed, benefiting communities across Northern Ireland