A young person who wanted to make amends to the Royal British Legion for damaging some trees has helped raise money through a sponsored bike ride after taking part in Torbay Council’s Restorative Justice process.
More than £130 has been raised so far and a few more sponsorships are still to come in following the event. The bikes were donated free of charge for the day from Forest Cycle Hire Ltd in Exeter and all proceeds are being donated to the Royal British Legion Club in Newton Abbot.
The young person who organised the event damaged some trees in Courtney Park, Newton Abbot in 2009 and was sentenced to an 18 months Supervision Order. They then went through the Youth Offending Team’s restorative justice process, which involves encouraging offenders to take responsibility for their actions and repairing the harm. It also gives victims the opportunity to tell offenders about the real impact of their crime and to receive an apology.
The young person met with a Torbay Council representative and decided they wanted to make amends to the British Legion which had donated the trees.
The young person said: “At first I didn’t want to meet a council representative because I was scared of what they might do or say to me. However, after meeting with him I was shocked, because he told me about the impact of my actions on the community. I didn’t know the trees were planted in memorial of the Battle of Trafalgar.
“I did this bike ride because I felt ashamed and guilty and I wanted to give something back to the Royal British Legion and the community. I hope that by doing this the Royal British Legion will forgive me and will see that I am trying to make up for the damage I caused. Since this has happened my behaviour has changed and I hope people can see that.”
Eric Collar, the Vice Chairman of the Royal British Legion’s Newton Abbot branch, said: “Well done! This is really appreciated by the Royal British Legion, which tries to look after those who fought and served their country.”
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, councillor Anna Tolchard, said: “The council is committed to improving standards of behaviour. Experience has shown that children dealt with in such a way are much less likely to repeat their behaviour. Restorative justice not only addresses their offending, but also benefits the victim and the wider community.”
(from a press release)