CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Youth Justice Team have won a Youth Justice Board Hwb Doeth Innovation Award for its Benches for Schools and Community Project.

Hwb Doeth bring together professionals from the Youth Justice Board, Universities, Welsh Government and Youth Offending Team Managers to look at developing and improving practice within youth justice in Wales. 

Projects from across Wales were nominated for the award, but the panel of judges were highly praised with Carmarthenshire’s bench building project. It involved young people working with the youth justice team to build picnic benches for primary schools in the Gwendraeth Valley area as part of their reparation work, so that teachers and pupils had more space for outdoor learning.

The judges praised the project for its partnership working, the skills acquired by the young people, the benefits to the community and schools in light of outdoor learning, and how this had all been achieved as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reparation forms part of a child’s court order with the aim of repairing harm to the victim or community. Building the picnic benches, as part of their reparation work, saw the young people learning carpentry, entrepreneurship and employability skills, as they were involved in all stages of the process – from measuring to cutting the wood, assembling the benches and quality management of the product.

The award was presented virtually to the team by Keith Towler, Youth Justice Board Member for Wales. Also present was Angela Lodwick, Vice Chair of the Youth Justice Team Management Board, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Director of Education and Children Gareth Morgans, and Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies.

Cllr Davies, who is  also a Member of the Youth Justice Team Management Board, said: “This project not only allowed for the development of numeracy , literacy and practical skills, but also allowed for the young people to make amends for the good of the community.

“Our youth justice staff work tirelessly and creatively to inspire, motivate and support young people to live crime free lives and achieve. I am delighted that their efforts have been recognised by the Youth Justice Board’s Hwb Doeth Awards and I would like to congratulate everyone involved for all their hard work.”