A COMMUNITY project in Swindon has received a coveted award at the prestigious National Probation Awards.

The Five-Wards project was launched in March and created a new community-based centre that is helping to reduce crime, turn people’s lives around and save money.

The project is seen as a flagship for community rehabilitation and could become a blueprint that other towns across the country follow.

The award was presented by probation minister Jeremy Wright.

The multi-agency team’s new hub at Broadgreen Community Centre makes it easier for people to access the services they need to get off drugs, make life changes and stop committing crime.

The team hopes to reduce offending in the area by as much as 40 per cent as well as create significant financial savings across all the public sector agencies over the next two years.

The initiative was put together by Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). It is part of the Government’s Public Service Transformation initiative.

With the support of the One Swindon Board and various partners, local volunteers and drug and alcohol service providers, CRC is creating a ‘one-stop shop’ where people can gain help to lead a crime-free life.

The probation service identified five wards in Swindon where there are people who can be helped.

Riana Taylor, CRC operations director, said: “The traditional way of trying to help people rehabilitate and stop committing crime is to get them to report to lots of different agencies. This can be intimidating for people and difficult to achieve.

“By having all the services in one place, in their own community where they feel at home, people are more motivated to engage – to be open about their problems and discuss how they can be overcome.

“Our new community hub, with facilitates for children, also makes it easier to work with families who have members who are offending or at risk of offending in order to help break the cycle of crime, for this and future generations.

“And, by working together with other agencies and sharing facilities, this approach also costs less to deliver.”