CHESHIRE County Council has joined the Probation Service in a scheme to enable ex-offenders to ‘give something back’ to the community.
The Probation Service has offered to assist the authority’s Countryside Service with its scheme to replace many stiles with kissing gates.
Supervised by trained staff, probationers are carrying out some of the installation work as part of their unpaid hours of work known as the Community Payback scheme.
Environment executive member Andrew Needham said: ‘This is an excellent partnership with benefits for all.
‘Offenders are able to develop new skills while giving something back to the local community.
‘Walkers will benefit from improved access to the countryside with easy to use, durable structures replacing outdated stiles.
‘And the county council will save funds which can then be used to purchase more kissing gates.’
The Local Authority Business Growth Initiative provided £20,000 funding for the kissing gates scheme.
Parish councils were asked to nominate stiles for replacement and the response was so great that the county council received four applications for each kissing gate it could fund.