Supporting South Taranaki community offenders with meaningful community work projects has earned Hawera Primary School a Community Partnership Award from Corrections.
The Award recognises the ongoing support and collaboration between the primary school and Corrections on projects that benefit the local community.
Corrections’ Acting District Manager Annette Perrett says the recognition is well-deserved.
“Hawera Primary School has provided numerous meaningful projects to Hawera Community Corrections for our community work parties.
“The most significant project to date is developing further the school’s BMX track for pupils.
“The track is one of the most fulfilling projects we’ve been involved in for the community in recent times.”
Under the guidance of a community work supervisor, offenders sentenced to community work have shifted dirt, installed old tyres at the edge of the track and laid pea gravel to stabilise the undulating track. A community work party has worked on the track over six months on Saturdays and school holidays, weather permitting.
“Some of the people on the work party have a connection to the school and they can appreciate the benefits the track brings to pupils.
“Community work is a reparative sentence, so the work party is giving back to the Hawera community,” says Ms Perrett.
School Principal Neryda Sullivan says the project has opened up a whole new activity for the school’s pupils, with classes having set days when they can bring their bike to school to ride the track at morning tea and lunchtime.
“We really are appreciative of the work undertaken by the community work team,” says Mrs Sullivan.
The school’s also started an initiative for the community to donate old bikes to them, so pupils without bikes can use a donated bike to ride the track.
“More bikes donated by the community would be gratefully received,” Mrs Sullivan says.
The partnership between Hawera Community Corrections and the school goes back about 10 years. Other projects have included community work parties completing regular grounds maintenance work at the school on Saturdays and outside of term time.
Hawera Primary School Principal Neryda Sullivan received the award in a presentation at the school on Tuesday 26 June. Ms Sullivan also received a hand carved Maori fish hook representing prosperity, abundance, fertility and strength, set in a natural wood frame. The gift was created by men in Whanganui Prison.
In the current financial year, offenders managed by Hawera Community Corrections completed more than 16,300 hours of community work across South Taranaki.
Community partnership awards are a way for Corrections to acknowledge individuals or organisations who have made an outstanding commitment to providing meaningful, challenging projects that allow offenders to make up for their offending, learn new skills and behaviours, and provide role models to make a positive difference to others.
Corrections manages offenders to hold them to account to comply with their sentences and orders, reduce their likelihood of re-offending, minimise their risk to others, and help them become productive and contributing members of society.