Churchyard Gets New Lease of Life
Young offenders spruce up St. Mary's Church
An Ealing churchyard has been transformed after former offenders were put to work clearing a disused cemetery.
The last of the work to clear a 2000sqm site at St Mary’s Church in St Mary’s Road, Ealing, was completed last week. Twelve offenders took part in the three-month Community Payback project which was run jointly by Ealing Council, local police and London Probation.
The project was organised by Ealing Council envirocrime and community safety officers after they were approached by the vicar at St Mary’s, Reverend Steve Paynter.
Church Manager, Andrew Lyle, said: “This was a great project because it meant the men got the opportunity to do something for others. Clearing the site has made a real difference to the whole area surrounding the church. Now the site is clear we will check all the gravestones to ensure they are safe and catalogue all their details. We’re delighted that the cemetery is accessible again and we hope to one day use the space to create a garden of remembrance and a peaceful area for the use of the community.”
The offenders, who had all been convicted of non-violent crimes such as theft and car crime, took part in the work on the eastern churchyard as part of their punishment. The site had been ravaged by weeds since the cemetery closed in 1903. The men worked three days a week since February to clear the site, removing more than 30 tonnes of vegetation and flytips.
May 12, 2009