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Published date: Friday 18 April 2019
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Corrective Services NSW staff and inmates have been lending a helping hand to those in need, providing valuable support to the homeless through a successful community partnership.
The Outer-Metropolitan Multi-Purpose Correctional Centre Community Projects Team has been serving lunch to the disadvantaged in Windsor, in Sydney’s North West, for almost two years in partnership with Hawkesbury Helping Hands.
Corrective Services Industries Manager Scott Graham said helping not-for-profit organisations has a positive impact on the inmates’ self-esteem and rehabilitation.
“Forming strong community partnerships gives inmates a sense of purpose, new skills and the opportunity to give something back to organisations that often struggle to find the time, funds and volunteers to keep up their work,” Mr Graham said.
“At Hawkesbury Helping Hands our Community Projects Team does a lot of work behind the scenes in preparation for the lunch service, including sorting donations, restocking the shelves and preparing groceries for distribution.
“This work not only helps inmates to develop a social conscience, it allows them to see first-hand the positive impact they can have on the lives of these extremely vulnerable people.”
The group of eight minimum-security inmates also perform cleaning and maintenance jobs for Hawkesbury Helping Hands and have contributed more than 2,500 hours’ work to the organisation in the past 12 months.
They have returned an additional 5,120 hours’ work to the wider community in the past 12 months through a partnership with the Australian Pioneer Village at Wilberforce, doing grounds maintenance, gardening, mowing, weeding and rubbish removal on the 28-acre property.
Overseer Justin Weir said working outside the centre helps prepare inmates for life after their release by fostering in them a strong work ethic, respect for work and appreciation of routine.
“These community partnerships are a great opportunity for inmates to experience a structured work day, working with people outside the correctional environment,” Mr Weir said.
“Having that connection really helps inmates reintegrate into the community upon their release, which in turn lowers their risk of reoffending.”