Today, I visited a popular luncheon club run by Greater Manchester Probation Trust’s Community Payback team.
The club, which caters for the over-50s and runs six days a week from 12pm, has up to 30 regular attendees and serves healthy and hearty food, as well as providing a social environment. Offenders cook two-course meals, serve the food and tidy-up at the venue, which is at Worsley Mesnes Community Centre.
Community Payback is a punishment for breaking the law, rigorously supervised and enforced by probation. The luncheon club was first started in 1983 and has become a permanent fixture in the lives of scores of people. I met with Jane Frappola, Community Payback Officer and was introduced to both offenders and the beneficiaries who attended.
Offenders have the opportunity to learn cookery, first aid and hygiene qualifications. Representatives from the National Careers Service, Campaign for Learning and Training to All also attended.
It was fantastic to see the luncheon club in operation and at the forefront of encouraging offenders by providing training and the opportunity to learn new skills to help them back into the working environment, leaving crime behind. The Community Payback Team working with offenders are doing a great job and judging by the number of empty plates on show today, they know a thing or to about cooking!