Jobs scheme helps ex-offenders bloom
A SCHEME has been launched in Bellahouston Park to help ex-offenders get a job.
Experts say finding work can be difficult for people with criminal convictions yet being in employment is known to reduce the risk of reoffending.
In a bid to solve the problem a year-long pilot was set up at Daldowie Training Centre to allow offenders to learn new skills and boost their chance of getting work.
The Recreate scheme, which is run by Community Safety Glasgow, proved successful and funding from Police Scotland allowed it to move to an area of land where volunteers built new raised beds and laid a patio. The garden has numerous plots which are used by a wide range of different groups.
People can be referred to Recreate after completing a Community Payback Order either by social work, a job centre or by self-referral. Some volunteers have lived chaotic lives for years but the garden is a peaceful place where they feel safe.
They spend a few weeks learning about horticulture and garden maintenance while staff try to find them six month placements in areas such as construction, wood working, vehicle maintenance or landscaping. They also receive one-to-one mentoring support and make use of employability and support services.
A high number go on to gain employment, return to education or are accepted on to other programmes after completing their placements.
Former volunteer Julian, 35, landed a job with the city council’s assisted garden maintenance team after discovering a love of gardening through working at Recreate.
He said: “After completing my Community Payback Order it was really disheartening applying for lots of jobs and never hearing back. I was really down but when I joined Recreate I found I loved being out in the garden, the staff were non-judgemental and I learned a lot about hard landscaping, propagation, first aid and looking after plants.”
Community Safety Glasgow chairman Jim Coleman said: “Helping people get their lives back on track by improving their employability and boosting their self-worth can help stop reoffending and that is good for everyone.”
Ex-volunteer Julian found his love of gardening through Recreate