Ex-offenders build chill zone

Workers in a probation service scheme working at Castlefords Queens Park.'Steve Weston (Blue Sky team leader), Philip Anderson and Anthony Meek
Workers in a probation service scheme working at Castlefords Queens Park.'Steve Weston (Blue Sky team leader), Philip Anderson and Anthony Meek

A TEAM of ex-offenders have started work to build a £90,000 “chill zone” at a Castleford park through a pioneering scheme.

Workers from the Blue Sky project – which is open to unemployed men and women aged between 18 and 24 with previous convictions – have been chosen to build the new facility for young people at Queen’s Park.

The scheme, which has been run in areas across the country, is being supported by Groundwork Wakefield and the district’s Probation Service.

Steve Hyde, of Friends of Queen’s Park, said: “It’s the only scheme that goes out of its way to support ex-offenders and I don’t know of anything like it.

“We’ve had people from the project working in the park before and we were so impressed with their work that we actively made sure they were part of the tendering process for the chill zone.

“It can be very hard for ex-offenders to find work and this is a scheme we as a group want to support. We hope to have them work on projects in the park in the future.”

The chill zone – funded through a National Lottery Grant – will provide a place for young people to meet up and take part in activities, including skateboarding.

It is expected to be unveiled during an opening event between 2pm and 8pm on Saturday May 16.

Anyone young people who were involved in the design of the chill zone should contact Mr Hyde on 07878 550977.