August 16, 2023

Join us in our 50th Year to see how Community Payback Changes Lives

Caroline Morrison
Head of Unpaid Work Policy, Projects and People

Caroline Morrison, Head of Unpaid Work Policy, Projects and People highlights the importance of Community Payback and how you can get involved via Insights23.

It’s a big year for Community Payback (CP) – we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary - but how much do you know about the work we do and the positive impact it has on lives and communities?

I’d like to share a few things that might surprise you and hopefully persuade you to spend some time with us as part of the Insights 23 Festival.

Community Payback, sometimes called Unpaid Work, can be added to community orders and suspended sentence orders made by courts in England and Wales for between 40 and 300 hours to be completed within a year.

People subject to Community Payback work on projects which benefit the community while learning skills to improve their knowledge, confidence, and employability.

Yes, we collect litter, but we do so much more.

Community Payback teams are growing saplings, planting trees, making toys, building birdboxes and benches, decorating community centres, serving roast dinners, cleaning rivers and beaches, and building playparks.

Our workload is more varied than many think thanks to the skills shared by our partner organisations and our supervisors. Jumbo, in South London, has spent the past 40 years passing on his skills, including building playparks and making toys, to help people in the capital into work. While Colin and Ade in Warwickshire teach people to build steps and ramps, pathways and playparks. We work closely with Forestry England, the Marine Conservation Society and Canal and River Trust among others to ensure offenders learn a variety of skills and knowledge while they repay their communities.

The first Community Service order, as it was then known, was made in Nottinghamshire in 1973. To commemorate the half century, we’re holding events in our regions as part of a series of activities across England and Wales and we’d love you to be involved.

Get Involved

We have numerous opportunities via the Insights Festival where you can be part of a Community Payback team, or spend a day with supervisors, managers and coordinators to understand the demands of their roles and the difference they make. Events are on offer across the North West and Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, East Midlands and the South West.  

Community Payback also provides opportunities to improve education and skills via  Community Campus -the Probation Service’s commissioned e-learning platform that enables people who have an Unpaid Work order issued by the court to access electronic educational and vocational learning.

These are just a few examples but please visit the Insights website for many more on CP and lots more,

These events provide a great insight into the work we do, the challenges we face, and the important role Community Payback plays in the lives of offenders and the wider community.

Did you know you can also submit a local project idea for consideration? We’re always keen to hear ideas and see if our teams can help. Submit your ideas to

We look forward to seeing you!

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