McLaren Park and Henderson South Trust (MPHS) has been presented with a Community Work Partnership Award by the Department of Corrections.
The trust runs the Waitākere Community Recycling Centre and the award acknowledges a programme that has seen dozens of offenders carry out community work at the recycling centre.
Waitākere Community Recycling Centre project manager Green Jon says the relationship with the Department of Corrections has opened up the opportunity to work with people that have fallen out of society.
“It’s a chance to show them a better way through providing meaningful work. They are able to actively benefit the environment by diverting reusable material from landfill, and that has a positive impact on them,” he says.
Celebrating outstanding commitment
Gerry Hughes from the Department of Corrections says community work partnership awards are a way for Corrections to acknowledge and celebrate an outstanding commitment.
“I really want to acknowledge Jon’s passion for this. By providing meaningful, challenging projects his team have enabled our people to start repaying their debt and learn skills and a good work ethic along the way,” he says.
Gerry Hughes says that employment opportunities give offenders the chance to gain skills and qualifications that could lead to sustainable employment. Research has shown that stable, meaningful employment can reduce re-offending.
Each week, the Waitākere Community Recycling Centre hosts a crew of 10 from the Department of Corrections’ community work programme. Community work is the most common community-based sentence, providing the chance for the offender to give something back to the community.
Green Jon loves working with the crews and seeing the changes they undergo as they learn something of value and contribute ideas.
“Life can be a dead end with regards to employment for those with convictions and our workers genuinely appreciate being given a chance. They’ve done a lot of work on themselves and have had to address their defects of character. Some have had tragic lives and have grown up in difficult circumstances; let’s not forget that most crime comes out of poverty.”