Council picks up good VIBES from going green

Unpaid work team minion web

Midlothian Council has been announced as a finalist for the VIBES 2018 Scottish Environmental Business Awards. 

The Unpaid Work (Community Payback) service will compete for the Green Team Award that rewards organisations who have worked as a team to deliver environmental improvements.

Huge variety of projects

The team has responsibility for working with people who have committed an offence and are subject to a Community Payback Order. Working together, they take on a huge variety of small construction and maintenance projects every year across Midlothian.

The service has transformed since 2015 when the team began to take a green approach to the work by maximising use of upcycled materials, creating a more environmentally friendly workshop and providing opportunities for biodiversity. In doing so, they’ve reduced their annual cost of materials by an estimate of 85%, allowing them to deliver more for less.

Schools and nurseries benefit

Beneficiaries to date include schools and nurseries across Midlothian, local third sector organisations and vulnerable groups. They also work to improve community spaces such as parks, walkways and train stations, by donating items such as bird boxes, planters and benches that they create out of recycled materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

The team caught the judges eye this year with a greenhouse made of recycled plastic bottles and planters made from old tyres, painted up to look like kids-favourites ‘Minions’ and ‘Olaf’ from Disney’s Frozen.

120 clients per year

The service averages around 120 clients per year, who undertake unpaid work in the community. Unpaid work gives clients the opportunity to give something back to communities affected by crime as well as reducing the likelihood of future offending by upskilling and facilitating reintegration. Community Payback has been helping to create a safer, greener Midlothian and making it into the final celebrates Midlothian Council’s innovative approach.

Very proud

Councillor Stephen Curran said: “I’m very proud to see our name among the list of finalists, it’s a well-deserved achievement for all those involved in the delivery of the unpaid work service. It’s great to see communities – particularly those most affected by crime – reap the benefits that the service can bring. I wish the team the very best of luck for the final.”

Final judging of the remaining five nominees will be conducted over the summer with the winners being announced at an award ceremony in Glasgow on 14 November.

Image: Stuart Pratt and Kerry Eddington from the Unpaid Work team are pictured with one of their creations, a 'Minions' planter made from old tyres. 

17 Jul 2018