Posted: Thursday 26th October 2017
Hertfordshire young offenders are brightening up communities using flower power.
Young people, under the age of 18 and subject to youth court orders have been given the opportunity to give back to their community and promote vital services such as foster carers, through the Youth Justice Reparation Project for Young Offenders.
Run alongside the Broxbourne and East Herts Targeted Youth Support Team and Anglian in Bloom organisation, the young people construct planters for seasonal flowers to brighten up public areas and advertise important messages.
The all year round project has been running for six years and this year alone they have managed to distribute 40 boxes around the Broxbourne and East Herts districts, including outside libraries and sport centres. Planters have also been placed outside every station along the Lee Valley line from Hertford East to Broxbourne in conjunction with Greater Anglia Railway.
Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Making young people more aware of their community and seeing their work out in public is a great achievement for them.
“They also promote the work Hertfordshire County Council’s Youth Justice service is doing by allowing members of the public to see community criminal justice being served.”
Young offender, Paul*, aged 16, said: “I have seen the planters all over Cheshunt and I think it’s brilliant they get to be seen. The project has been a good lesson, by helping me to stay out of trouble already and it will do in the future.”
The planters not only improve the look of areas but are also used to advertise Hertfordshire County Council foster carers recruitment, with the use of small informative plaques. The foster carer planter project has been part funded by the County Councillors Local Budget Scheme for the last five years and aims to encourage more people to foster children from their local area.
Teresa Heritage said: “There is evidence which supports the benefits of placing children coming into care within the area they come from, and with a strong link between offending and family breakdown, it is vital Children Services increase the number of foster carers within every district.
“Our aim is to lessen disruptions, reduce costs and increase the chance of a better outcome for foster children and their families.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fostering
*not his real name