Offenders clean clothes for charity to help them get jobs.

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Offenders who clean clothes for charity will soon be able to earn themselves a new qualification.

From Monday, April 8, offenders in West Yorkshire who are given community orders by the courts will complete an ‘Introduction to Charity Retailing’ certificate to help boost their skills and employability options. Under the West Yorkshire Probation Trust’s Community Payback scheme, they will work for local charities across the region. The placements are supervised by trained staff employed by charities.

An existing partnership that West Yorkshire Probation has with Age UK, sees offenders steaming and cleaning clothes and sorting donated stock ready to be distributed to the shops across England.

Karen Townend, head of community payback for West Yorkshire said: “Age UK requires offenders completing court orders on their sites to undertake mandatory training in order to complete their day to day un-paid work.

“Offenders will benefit from this training as it presents the chance to increase their skills and employability options.

“This training includes health and safety, manual handling, stockroom practices and various other tasks related to the charity’s work and we intend to roll this training out to the rest of our partnership agencies over the coming months.

“Each offender will have a training record and will be signed off when each module has been completed. On completion of all modules, a certificate will be issued”.

She said employment, education and training is helping reduce re-offending, with a reduction of 10 per cent since 2005.