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Community Payback scheme benefits tenants in need

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Bromford Support has teamed up with Aragon Housing Association and Bedfordshire Probation Trust as part of a unique scheme to help householders with their gardening.

It's the first time that Bedfordshire-based Aragon and the housing support arm of Bromford, which operates throughout central England, have joined forces with the county's probation officers as part of the Payback service to tidy up local gardens in Biggleswade, near Bedford.

Under the Payback scheme, supervised offenders serving a community sentence spent a day tidying and weeding overgrown gardens in Lindsell Crescent.

Bromford Support worker Laura Rooke said: "We needed to find a way to help our customers fulfil their responsibility to keep their gardens tidy. They couldn't afford to employ a gardener so we approached the probation trust and Aragon Housing Association to see if we could do something different.

"Together we came up with this innovative solution. I'm really pleased the Payback scheme is going to help us, help our customers and improve the local neighbourhood."

Aragon housing manager Jane Wallwin said: "Our tenants were struggling to keep their garden in order so together we worked out a way in which they could help through the Payback scheme. We are delighted to see the launch of the project and hope this will be the first of many in the future."

A spokesman for the probation trust said: "This is the first time we have been involved in a collaboration between such organisations and we are delighted to have been invited to be apart of this project. All the offenders who take part are supervised and strict precautions taken to ensure the safety of everyone concerned.''