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Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE

Let’s Talk – Unpaid Work in East Ayrshire

Community Justice Ayrshire are championing the efforts of our Unpaid Work Teams across Ayrshire.  We want people to understand the importance of their role in community justice and reducing re-offending.   We hope this information will raise awareness of the benefits of unpaid work and highlight some of the positive action undertaken in our communities.

Today we shine the spotlight on our Unpaid Work Team in East Ayrshire.

What is a Community Payback Order?

A Community Payback Order is a sentence imposed by the Courts.  It offers Courts a disposal for use as a first response and for use with those who have defaulted on payment of a fine.  A Community Payback Order is a sentence served in the community rather than in a prison.

What is Unpaid Work?

A Community Payback Order consists of one or more of nine requirements including supervision, compensation, unpaid work or other activity, mental health treatment, drug treatment and alcohol treatment. Every order must contain either an unpaid work or other activity requirement or a supervision requirement, or both.

An unpaid work requirement gives the person the opportunity to contribute in a positive way to local communities.  Work undertaken as part of unpaid work does not replace paid employment but enhances work carried out by the local authority and community groups.

What Type of Unpaid Work is Undertaken?

The Unpaid Work Team is well equipped to undertake a variety of work in the local community such as: painting community railings, improving areas around local cemeteries, local churchyard maintenance, upkeep of local memorial gardens and undertaking general litter picks.

The unpaid work squads regularly provide support with, painting for elderly or disabled residents, grass cutting for elderly or disabled residents and over the winter months they assist with snow clearance at sheltered housing complexes and filling local grit bins.

Support can also be provided to local school projects and playgroups who require assistance with maintaining outdoor space or play areas.  The local foodbank also receive assistance with collection and deliveries of food parcels.

The Benefits of Unpaid Work

People who undertake unpaid work have an opportunity to repay their local communities for the harm caused by their offending.   They pay in time and hard work whilst developing new skills and confronting their offending behaviour.

Unpaid work allows the person to develop and improve their social skills making positive connections with people and communities.  The unpaid work requirement also allows for “other activity” to support people by providing educational support and guidance to enhance their employability status.

Engagement with the Community

Either the Unpaid Work Co-ordinator or Team Manager attends several local groups to support them in meeting their area improvement plans.  This includes local Community Action Groups; Kilmarnock Town Centre Action Group; Catrine Voes Woodland Trust and Nature Reserve; Severe Weather Committee; Kilmarnock Recycle Group and Tenants Associations.

Attendance at all groups has been greatly impacted this year due to Covid-19 restrictions and most of the contact has been via email or telephone although a few smaller meetings have been attended where this was deemed necessary.

Supporting Local Services

During the winter months, the Unpaid Work Team support Ayrshire Roads Alliance with their ‘Winter Service Plan’. Unpaid work squads distribute grit throughout East Ayrshire by cleaning, removing litter / debris from the containers and re-filling approximately 560 grit bins to ensure communities are safe and adequately equipped to deal with severe weather during the winter months.

Supporting Local Primary Schools

The Unpaid Work Team were asked to renovate a school garden so pupils could utilise this space for outdoor play and learning. The overgrowth was strimmed, cleared and made safe and the surrounding border was re-established to give staff and pupils an area for planting and growing. The garden is now a tranquil space with tidy flower beds ready for seeding and planting.

Supporting Our Communities

Catrine Voes is East Ayrshire’s first designed nature reserve which provides a home for Water Voles, Kingfishers, Otters and Atlantic Salmon. It is a local attraction in its own right due to the beautiful scenery, wooded area and nature that is observed there. Unpaid work squads have worked hard to maintain pathways, clear moss and overgrown shrubbery to ensure the community and visitors can continue to use the public walkways in and around this area.

 The Unpaid Work Team were also asked to participate in the Annual Community Litter Pick event coordinated by East Ayrshire Council Outdoor Services.  Unpaid work squads made a significant contribution over the four week period during this event by collecting bags of litter in and around the Kilmarnock area including at the Kay Park, Howard Park, Dean Park, Bellfield area and Woodroad Park in Cumnock.

Referrals to Unpaid Work

Referrals for support come in various forms, if any individual, charity or community group would like to discuss a referral they can contact either Stephanie Mitchell, Team Manager on Tel: 01563 578312 or by email alternatively they can contact Michelle Connell on Tel: 01563 578310 or by email:

If any charity or agency wishes to discuss the possibility of providing an agency placement they can contact Marion Dick on Tel: 01563 578312 or by email: