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Thurso kids and walkers benefit from community payback work


By David G Scott

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CHILDREN at Miller Academy in Thurso have colourful benches and people using Victoria Walk in the town benefit from refurbished fencing – all thanks to the Caithness Community Payback Team (CCPT).

Despite lockdown restrictions, CCPT has been working throughout the county, ensuring that clients sentenced to carry out unpaid work by Wick Sheriff Court have been paying back the community.

Receiving the benches is Miller Academy head teacher Jacqui Budge with pupils from P1, P2 and P3.
Receiving the benches is Miller Academy head teacher Jacqui Budge with pupils from P1, P2 and P3.

Following a three-month closure and Covid-19 restrictions greatly reducing the number of clients that can be facilitated daily by CCPT – work has continued to benefit local community organisations.

Miller Academy in Thurso has taken receipt of five refurbished children’s benches which were repaired and re-painted in bright rainbow colours.

Head teacher, Jacqui Budge said: "We are delighted with the work carried out by the Caithness Community Payback Team. The benches were in a state of disrepair but have been brought back to life due to the hard work put in and are now brightly painted and the wood replaced to make them strong and safe.

"The pupils will now be able to get the benefit of sitting outside in safety and comfort."

The badly damaged fencing along the west side of Victoria Walk in Thurso has also benefited from a complete overhaul thanks to hours of community payback work carried out by clients sentenced at Wick Sheriff Court. Victoria Walk is a busy thoroughfare which runs from West Gills to the top of Thurso beach esplanade along the clifftops.

Concern had previously been expressed about the condition of a large section of the cliff-top path fencing at Victoria Walk between Thurso and Scrabster. The fencing in an area to the north-west of the caravan park was in a state of disrepair. Highland Council area access officer Matt Dent and Caithness community payback officer Steve MacDonald worked together and funding for the repairs was obtained from a legacy left by Rev Dr Millar.

Community payback supervisor David Souter with the new fencing at Victoria Walk in Thurso.
Community payback supervisor David Souter with the new fencing at Victoria Walk in Thurso.

Steve MacDonald said: "The work carried out by our clients with community payback orders can greatly enhance our community’s facilities. To see the look on the children’s faces at Miller Academy was extremely gratifying. Hopefully they can get a great many years pleasure from these benches."

He added: "The fencing at Victoria Walk makes the pathway a safer place for all who use it and the work carried out has been well-received by members of the public.

"Covid-19 has meant that we have been severely restricted in what we can achieve. However, we have overcome the problems safely and still delivered to a good standard. The work has been carried out by individuals sentenced by Wick Sheriff Court to carry out unpaid work in the community and their enthusiasm for these projects should be commended."

Steve MacDonald can be contacted at Criminal Justice Service, Wick on 01349 781300.

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