St James Church praises Community Payback

Offenders carrying out Community Payback have been praised for the work they have done maintaining the grounds of St James’ Church in Christleton.

People sentenced by the courts to carry out unpaid work carry out a range of tasks at the Grade II listed building, which can trace its history back to the Domesday Book.

Groups of up to eight people supervised by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGM CRC) work at the church every Saturday as part of an arrangement that stretches back two years.

Tasks undertaken include mowing the grass, maintaining the cemetery and cleaning commemorative plaques and grave stones.

Revd Dr Stefan Collier said: “We are profoundly grateful for the Community Payback team, who under the kind and wise care of Val Barker, have been helping to maintain our large churchyard.

“Their committed hard work forms an essential backbone for making the churchyard the wonderful place of peace and encounter with God and loved ones that it is.”

Once a month members of the church community join the Community Payback team and share soup and bread, in an event arranged by parishioner Mike Lightfoot.

Stefan added: “The payback team’s humour and friendship at these times is an especial blessing to us, and one for which we are continually giving thanks for.”

Christleton won the Best Kept Village award for Cheshire West.

Val Mears, a Community Payback supervisor for CGM CRC, said: “I am delighted the work carried out by our service users has been appreciated by church.

“Community Payback is a punishment for breaking the law, it is rigorously enforced, but it is also a way for people to make amends for whatever they have done and to ultimately learn new skills.

“The fact their work is so clearly welcomed means a great deal.”