Riding Centre hot to trot after offender renovation

A riding centre for people with disabilities and additional needs has been spruced up by offenders paying back for the crimes they have committed.

Riding centreService users completing Community Payback activity with Wales Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) as part of their sentences have been working to renovate and develop the Clwyd Special Riding Centre in Llanfynydd over the last 12 months.

Over that time, hundreds of offenders have undertaken work at the 32-acre site, including laying new carpets, painting and decorating, changing gates, repairing fences and cutting back brambles.

The partnership started after one of the centre’s volunteers witnessed the work of Community Payback on a different project and approached the CRC for help.

Sorrel Taylor, centre manager, said: “The work they have done has been absolutely fantastic. I wouldn’t know we’d do without them.

“We’re a charity and we rely on volunteers. We have made the most of their existing skills and hopefully helped them to develop new ones over time.”

The service users have also helped to clear large amounts of land, which will help the centre develop services for their customers going forward.  

Sorrel added: “One of the areas they have been working on hadn’t been touched in 30 years.

“You couldn’t buy this quality of work. The decorating has been perfect, the hedges are immaculate – they have real attention to detail and are always polite, friendly and courteous.

“We really couldn’t do without them and there’s lots more to do. It’s a never-ending project.”

Stuart Edwards, Community Payback supervisor at Wales CRC, said: “This is a great example of the work we do to help our service users pay back to the communities that often suffer as a result of crime.

“It’s a tough, effective and visible punishment, giving service users positive experiences of what can be achieved by working together in a team and in a structured and disciplined way. It also gives them a chance to learn new skills to lead positive, crime-free lives.”