During the last year, sixteen young people on the Bradford & District Youth Offending Team programme have helped to restore a disused ‘pod’ building to the rear of the allotment. They transformed the shed-type structure into a room that can hold up to seven office workers. The facility could also be used as a classroom, satellite office or a meeting room for small community groups.

The project took months to complete. OIAM staff member, Derek Nolan said the project was an opportunity to teach the young people life skills as well as practical activities such as sanding down walls, painting, carpet fitting and building flat-pack furniture.

Mr Nolan added: “The overall site that this pod facility is based on is more than a horticultural site, it’s a haven of tranquility. It provides the ideal backdrop for the young people to reflect, ‘Why am I here and what am I choosing to do about it?’

“It also teaches them the disciplines of punctuality, hard work, resilience to stick at tasks, understanding working practices and processes and learning the value of money in the equipment they use.”

Bradford and District Youth Offending Team identifies the needs of each young offender by assessing them and addressing what makes the young person offend. The team also measures the risk the youngsters pose to others. This ensures programmes can be delivered to deal with the needs of the young person, with the intention of preventing further offending.

“We have done other restoration projects around the city in old people’s homes, churches and community halls. All of this teaches the young people about empathy and compassion towards others,” Derek added.