Urban Green Newcastle’s partnership with Probation Service improving city’s parks

A new partnership between Urban Green Newcastle and the Probation Service North East is helping to improve people’s experience of visiting some of Newcastle’s most popular parks.

The new scheme, which covers Leazes Park, Exhibition Park and Walker Park, sees offenders on Community Payback working with Urban Green Newcastle to carry out general maintenance tasks across the three parks; including removing graffiti, litter picking, and horticulture tasks.

It’s hoped the successful partnership will expand to other parks in 2023.

Emma Armstrong-Smith, Ranger Team Leader at Urban Green Newcastle, said: “Caring for and improving Newcastle’s 33 parks is a very big job, and as a small charity we rely on support from a wide range of partners.

“Thanks to the brilliant work of probation’s Community Payback team, we’ve been able to make significant improvements to some of the city’s biggest parks; reducing the impact of antisocial behavior like littering and graffiti.

“The teams working with us have also been able to carry out horticultural tasks to ensure the parks stay clean and tidy, and that plants and flowers continue to flourish.”

Leazes Park in Newcastle upon Tyne

Offenders sentenced to complete Community Payback supervised by probation spend a number of days each week working in the parks, carrying out a range of different tasks including cutting back plants and shrubbery, lining paths, edging and clearing gullies, and removing unwanted vegetation.

Laurence Bishop, Unpaid Work Operations Manager, said: “Community Payback is a way for offenders to give back to the local community for the crimes they have committed.

“We’re delighted to be working with Urban Green Newcastle because parks and green spaces are such an important park of our communities, and the work the Community Payback team is doing in Newcastle’s parks is making a real difference for local people.

“It’s also giving people on probation the opportunity to develop new skills and gain valuable work experience.”

Urban Green Newcastle is planning to extend its work with probation to provide training opportunities for offenders that supports them in finding future training and employment.

Emma continued: “As well as carrying out maintenance work across some of the city’s parks, the Community Payback teams help alert us to issues and ensure Newcastle’s green spaces remain safe, welcoming, and well-maintained places for people to visit.

“The Community Payback team working with Urban Green Newcastle have made a huge contribution since we began working with them, and we thank them all for their hard work.”