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As often happens here, things just occur…

Two crates of oranges arrived, dropped off by a great local organisation ’Food in the Community’.
Quite a lot of oranges really!

So, we started trying to hand them out, generally asking who would like to take a bag of oranges home, one of the guys replied…

“Err no thanks, two reasons…

1. I don’t have a f**king home.

2. I don’t like oranges.”

“Oh, and by the way Chris, Happy Birthday (Landworks is 9 next week). But why you ever want to work with scum like us is beyond me”

In all honesty in the 9 years, I don’t think I have ever thought of anyone as scum.

What I have thought though is that seeing and treating people as a criminal problem is not helpful, in fact it is mostly wrong. For most people this is a public health issue.

Jim arrived here a few months ago, head down, grunting at people, no eye contact, poor mental health and possibly a bit of an odour issue.

He had been involved in a couple of low-level incidents. The criminal justice system picked him up and labelled him as criminal… These labels are quite sticky, hard to remove and thus he is seen and treated as criminal. Processed by the system, which assumes punishment will sort it all out.

A more caring society might see his couple of low-level incidents as an indicator. An indicator that his overall health was poor, and he needed help and support to get better.

This is exactly what happens at LandWorks, we support people’s improvement in well-being, their overall health, obviously not just by offering random oranges, there’s a bit more to it. But it is all about encouraging and maintaining this improvement and that reduces reoffending.

It is quite simple, we see people for who they are today, not as criminal, not as scum but as somebody who is indicating that their overall health is not great.

Today Jim is standing tall, better accommodation possibilities, his head is up, he’s regained his old self respect, he is a proud man with a great sense of humour and he’s off to work.

We’ve said goodbye, we’ve shaken hands and he’s taken a few oranges, for others.


7th July 2022