Probation vans transporting food to the vulnerable during COVID-19

Probation vans transporting food to the vulnerable during COVID-19 image

The Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company has mobilised more than 60 people and 20 vans across the area to support the elderly and people self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting food and essential goods.

Interserve runs five Community Rehabilitation Companies that provide rehabilitative services to low and medium risk offenders across England, supervising 25 per cent of that group of offenders.

Following the coronavirus outbreak and in order to comply with NHS and government guidance, Community Payback delivery has been suspended while social distancing measures are in effect. This means the delivery of unpaid work sentences made by the courts has paused, therefore the probation colleagues who run Community Payback and the vans that they take groups out in are temporarily not in use.

Community Payback is a sentence made by the courts to punish offenders for the crime they have committed. Sentences vary from 40 hours through to 300 hours and tasks people complete range from maintaining churchyards and green spaces through to carrying out projects nominated by the community and supporting the charitable sector.

Steve Cope, joint head of Community Payback for the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGM CRC), said: “We already have excellent relationships with community groups and local authorities across Greater Manchester and so it was a logical step to help food banks supply goods to the people who need it most.

“The whole ethos of probation is to protect the public. During this challenging time, we are proud to be helping get food and supplies to the vulnerable.”

Currently half of CGM CRC’s Community Payback supervisors are involved in the relief effort, with numbers set to rise as more arrangements with foodbanks and support networks are developed.

Interserve’s transportation group supported the initiative, which has now been rolled out to all of the company’s CRCs.