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Deputy Police Commissioner meets ex-offenders at pioneering rehabilitation farm

Hardyal Dhindsa at Rhubarb Farm

Derbyshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa chatted to ex-offenders as he helped to launch a new recovery café and training facilities at a farm helping them to rebuild their lives.

The recovery work taking place at Rhubarb Farm in Langwith has provided former substance misusers, the unemployed and ex-offenders with the skills and confidence to build a new life. Many have gone on to find full-time employment and turn their backs on crime permanently.

During his visit to the charity, Mr Dhindsa was shown how new facilities are expanding the support the Farm provides and improving the experience of those who use its services.

The Commissioner’s office has funded a part-time volunteer post as well as a new training cabin featuring a training room and private office/meeting space which will allow it to run more courses for service users. A new Recovery Café, funded by Derbyshire County Council’s Drug and Alcohol Team, enables Rhubarb Farm to employ Drug and Alcohol Workers to support people recovering from substance misuse, while a water harvesting tank and irrigation system was installed following a grant from the Limestone Journeys Project, funded by the Heritage Lottery. The tank will help the Farm to save money by harvesting water from the two polytunnels, which produce 66,000litres of water every year.

Speaking after his visit, Mr Dhindsa said: “I was honoured to visit Rhubarb Farm and see just how far this fantastic enterprise has progressed in the way it supports people who are committed to changing their behaviour and making a fresh start.

“The experience of work and training has become a catalyst for transformation for many of the participants involved and an impressive number have secured a brighter and better future following their involvement with the scheme. Indeed, one former participant has gone on to become a full paid staff member and is contributing positively to the futures of other people in the same position he originally found himself in. This can be no better measure of success and I’m sure other ex-offenders will follow his example.

“This scheme builds self-esteem and self-worth which are motivating factors to secure employment and lead a law-abiding life. I look forward to visiting the Farm again in the future to hear more ongoing success stories.”

Rhubarb Farm is a horticultural social enterprise which helps to improve the volunteers’ lives by encouraging them to take an active role within society again. The Farm grows fruit and vegetables on a small scale for vegetable bags and local customers.

Participants are involved in every step of the production process and take a hands-on approach to farming to increase their confidence and provide them with new skills that they can use in the work place.

Ends

 

Picture Shows: (L-R):
Dot Grieveson, Rhubarb Farm volunteer, Hardyal Dhindsa, Julie Bailey, Rhubarb Farm Training Development Officer (post funded by the Crime Prevention Grant), Simon Steers, Maintenance Worker.
Kneeling:  Luke Kelly, Site Supervisor/ex-offender mentor

 

Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2016
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