Tag Archives: Omagh

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Chair opens Probation’s new office in Sperrin Centre

At the official opening of the Omagh Probation office was Hugh Hamill, Probation Director of Operations, Vilma Patterson, Probation Chairman, Cllr Howard Thornton, Chair Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Paul Devlin, Probation Area Manager Omagh, Cllr Alan Rainey, Fermanagh and Omagh PCSP Chair, and Cheryl Lamont, Probation CEO.

Today, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cllr Howard Thornton, officially opened the new office for Probation. The new office is located in the Sperrin Centre along with other Justice partner organisations such as the Youth Justice Agency.

Probation supervises a number of people on community sentences within the Omagh 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 fulfill, 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 Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cllr Howard Thornton, said:

“The Probation service has been part of the community in Omagh for almost 40 years and in that time has had an important role to play in making Omagh safer. I am delighted that the well-established link is continuing with the move to these modern offices. The location of other justice partner organisations on the same premises will also undoubtedly be beneficial to the work of the Probation Board.  Through the Probation Board’s representation on Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership, a link also exists with Councillors locally and provides an informal pathway when issues arise locally.”

Probation Chief Executive, Cheryl Lamont, emphasised her 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 Omagh 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 Barnardos, NIACRO, Drop Inn Ministries, and others”

Probation Board Chairman, Vilma Patterson MBE, 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 Ms Patterson said;

“Through its Corporate Plan and Business Plans, Probation has identified areas of work including tackling domestic violence, dealing with addictions and poor mental health and working with partners to protect the most vulnerable in society.  It is encouraging to hear some of the practical ways Probation here in Omagh are working to tackle these issues. It is important that the strategic priorities are delivered in a tangible way on the ground.”.

8,500 hours of Community Service benefits Enniskillen and Omagh

Figures compiled for 2016/17 by Probation show that offenders on Community Service in the Enniskillen and Omagh area have completed 8,500 hours of unpaid work to benefit local communities. That is over £63,750 worth of work to help local communities in Enniskillen and Omagh.

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.”

Rural West Area Manager, Paul Devlin 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 on projects such as the Share Centre, Lisnaskea which is the largest residential outdoor activity centre in Ireland which deals with people from all backgrounds, the new Eco Centre at Mullaghmore, and Omagh’s Castleview Community Association. We also work closely with all local churches and community groups maintaining grounds and graveyards.

Through these and many other projects over the last year, 8,500 hours of unpaid work has been delivered equating to a reparative value of over £63,750. Many communities within the Rural West area have benefitted from this 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.