LandWorks Bird Box - Prisoner Training & Placements


It is supposed to be tea break – but an excited crowd has gathered below a tree and all appear to be looking up at something…

Darryl and I have just finished showing two visitors around LandWorks. We are getting good at this, I drone on about the dull stuff and then Darryl (a prisoner on day release here in 2017, who has just secured a part time job as an NHS peer mentor, working with offenders [lived experience], which is brilliant) still volunteers for an hour or so to help explain the project from a ‘lived experience’ point of view, much more interesting.

Spotting our arrival at the tree, one of the crowd whispers (loudly), “Look, look it’s the Treecreeper, back again, nesting in that box, it was the other box last year.”

I’m not so sure, I think it maybe it’s a Nuthatch, but don’t particularly want to start that debate up again! Every year, this discussion goes on and on and on, and we can never remember which bird distinctly goes up or down the tree, or is it up, down and around…

Anyway, we’ve got to get back to it… it’s been a hectic morning in our resettlement support office. A new man is registered and placement agreed, a council tax problem sorted out and now a housing eviction action awaits. And Sue will have to look at a personal independence payment refusal and consider an appeal, plus try to fit in a review of an individual’s action plan.

We are planning to increase our capacity to provide this vital support by recruiting a full-time Resettlement Manager, soon.

“Chris, it’s definitely a Treecreeper, same as last year.”

I avoid a direct answer by instead praising the number of nesting boxes we have around the site. In fact, the whole place is looking well managed and orderly (great when showing visitors around).

It is almost 4 years since Martin took on the job of maintaining the site, working with one or two of the guys at a time, keeping all the various enterprises supported, making sure the shop has compost and logs on sale, repairing a mower and then suddenly dropping everything to deliver two picnic tables and pick up supplies from Morrisons and timber from the builders’ merchants.

It’s an important job and it keeps LandWorks rolling.

Martin is about to move on, to pastures new, and he will be greatly missed.

So, we are looking for a new Site Maintenance Co-ordinator, please feel free to share if you know anyone suitable (full details here Job Vacancies).

As you will gather there is some change afoot at LandWorks with new staff recruitments coming. I don’t mind change, but you need to have built strong foundations to enable progress, which Sue and Martin have constructed so well.

And yet, amongst all this coming change, some things stay reassuringly constant. The Nuthatch (oh yes, it is) appears very content to remain nesting here again this year.

Now I’m just wondering about adding bird watching skills to the job spec…


15th April 2021