Community schemes are working well

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Community service schemes have been praised by Beach Buddies.

The schemes, in which offenders are required to work for a fixed number of unpaid hours in various roles, have seen a large number of mostly young offenders working alongside volunteers for the beach cleaning charity over the past four years.

Beach Buddies founder Bill Dale said: ‘This started several years ago and it has been a very positive initiative.

‘I’ll be honest, when the first group came along to a beach cleaning session at Blue Point four years ago, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

‘The image I had was that we would have a bunch of cocky young lads arriving on the beach and looking absolutely fed up.

‘But, I hold my hands up - you have to understand that the vast majority of offenders on these schemes have only been convicted of fairly minor offences, and, in my experience, the ones we have dealt with turned out to be a really decent bunch of people who seemed to like what Beach Buddies was doing.

‘Everyone serving community service that we have met appeared to go away with a very positive attitude.’

It’s estimated more than 3,500 hours of unpaid work will be completed by weekend community service work groups in 2016.

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