Tag Archives: Coleraine

Mayor Officially Opens Probation’s New Office in Coleraine

The Chair of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Sean Bateson, officially opened the new office for Probation. The new office is in a central location in the Diamond.

Probation supervises a number of people on community sentences within the Coleraine area to guide their rehabilitation and reintegration back into the community.   A community sentence can include unpaid work as part of the conditions they have to fulfil, and victims may also have a say in what work is to be carried out.

Speaking at the opening of the new office, the Chairman of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Sean Bateson, said:

“Probation have been based in Coleraine for many years before moving to this office so they have always had a strong local presence in Coleraine and the surrounding area.  I am delighted that the well-established service is continuing with the move to these modern offices.  Probation staff use their skills and abilities to facilitate rehabilitation and to tackle the root causes of offending. By doing so, they change lives for safer communities.  Through the Probation Board’s representation on Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership, a link also exists with Councillors locally and provides an informal pathway when issues arise.”

Probation Director of Operations Hugh Hamill, emphasised his support for the community focused work carried out by local Probation staff:

“Every year, Probation delivers reports for courts, supervises orders and licences and provides victims of crime with a service through the victim information scheme.  We know and can evidence that through our work fewer people go on to reoffend. This is the sort of work that the Coleraine office carries out with our Justice partners, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Youth Justice Agency, Judiciary, and Social Services. We also work very closely with community based organisations like Conservation Volunteers, The Vine Yard, Riding for the Disabled and Causeway Coast and Rescue to name a few.”

Probation Board Chair, Dale Ashford QFSM, highlighted the importance of engagement with local communities and stated that community involvement was ‘key’ to helping PBNI deliver its strategic plans for safer communities more effectively. Speaking at the office opening Mr Ashford said;

“The importance of engagement with local communities and working in partnership is absolutely critical.  Our work does not take place in isolation. We are part of the justice system, working in collaboration with partners to deliver safer communities.

The Board is beginning the process of developing its Corporate Plan for 2020-23 and will be seeking to consult with partners and those working and living in local communities.   I hope that many of you here will participate in that consultation.”

11,400 hours of Community Service benefits North Antrim Area

Figures compiled for 2016/17 by Probation show that offenders on Community Service in the North Antrim area have completed 11,400 hours of unpaid work to benefit local communities. That is over £85,500 worth of work to help local communities in Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Larne.

Probation’s Chief Executive, Cheryl Lamont said, “Probation works by changing lives for safer communities and Community Service is a key element in our work. It is a visible and practical method of ensuring offenders pay something back to the community while helping them to develop skills they can use in the future which will prevent them continuing in a cycle of crime.

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.

Over the past seven years this has translated into over one million hours of unpaid work, worth over seven million pounds, invested into local communities, across Northern Ireland.”

Probation Area manager for North Antrim Area, Grainne Teague said, “We supervise offenders who work on a range of projects including environmental clean ups, painting and decorating premises used by community groups, grass cutting and general maintenance. These projects include Corrymeela, Ashes to Gold, work in Cloughmills, the Vineyard in Coleraine, and Riding for the Disabled.

We also work with the local Councils and provide assistance through Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to develop projects that target the effects of criminal and anti-social behaviour like graffiti removal or neighbourhood clean ups.

Through these and many other projects over the last year, 11,400 hours of unpaid work has been delivered equating to £85,500 worth of payback to the community. Many communities within the North Antrim area have benefitted as a result.”

Offenders who carry out this unpaid work are able to give something back to communities, make reparation for the crimes they have committed and develop skills to help change their lives away from a cycle of crime. Probation staff supervise these sentences in a robust manner and if someone breaches their sentence they are returned to court.”

If any community group or member of the public has an idea for a project that offenders could work on for the benefit of your community, they can nominate a project for offenders to undertake at www.pbni.org.uk or you can email us at this address: communityservice@pbni.gsi.gov.uk

ENDS                                                                                                                             

  1. The Criminal Justice Inspection in their follow up report “A follow-up review of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland’s Community Service Scheme” used a reparative value calculated against the National Minimum Wage for the Community Service Scheme. This reparative value calculation was used to show the reparative value of Community Service for the year 2016/17. Currently this is £7.05 for 21 to 24 year olds and a living wage of £7.50 for 25 year olds and over. Most of those on Community Service are 25 years or older.