Football helping to rehabilitate offenders

A football club is helping to rehabilitate people who have committed crimes in their local community.

Briton Ferry Llansawel AFC, who play in the second tier of Welsh football, has teamed up with Wales Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) as part of the Community Payback initiative.

Community Payback is a tough, effective and visual punishment for people who have committed crimes. It provides opportunities for those offenders to give something back to the communities which have suffered as a result of crime while also helping the culprits pick up new skills so they can lead stable, crime-free lives.

Over the last two years, groups of offenders have been undertaking tasks at Briton Ferry Llansawel AFC’s The Old Road ground – from painting and decorating to repairing gates and fencing. The club has also benefitted from individual placements from the CRC.

Club secretary Stuart Williams said: “I heard about the work of Community Payback a few years ago from another football club. I was immediately interested, and we’ve been working with the CRC ever since.

“There’s only me here, so I just haven’t got the capacity to do all of the work that needs doing so I really value the work they do. The work is always of a great standard and there’s never been any trouble whatsoever.”

Community Payback supervisor Nathan Stock, of Wales CRC, said: “We take groups of five or six people down to the club for two or three days a week. There’s a lot of work to do, particularly during the close season when we did all the painting of the stands and got the ground ready for the new season.

“We always make the work challenging but worthwhile and always look forward to visiting the ground to see what’s next to do.”

Wales Community Rehabilitation Company is managed by Working Links. For more information, visit www.workinglinks.co.uk