ST BARNABAS's in Northolt Park, west London, has an
invaluable worshipper with huge energy, says its Vicar, the Revd Patricia
Hillas. He is Bernard King, a retired police inspector who was also once a
builder. When it came to clearing up the neglected and overgrown church
grounds, and redecorating the large church hall, he knew just where to get the
For the past year, teams of offenders serving community orders have been
coming twice a week to clear rubbish, clean off graffiti, prune shrubs, pull
ivy off the walls, and paint the church hall. They were supervised by probation
officers only too glad to have a variety of work using a variety of skills for
their teams to do.
Even better, parishioners have worked alongside them in easy friendship, and
have provided them with sandwich lunches. Those coming to do their community
service have been very mixed ethnically, socially, and in age, says Ms Hillas.
A couple of weeks ago they were able to celebrate the completion of the work
with a celebratory lunch, at which the Vicar could thanks all concerned. It was
attended by the local MP, Stephen Pound, representatives of the Police and
Probation Service, and not least by those offenders who had been currently
working on the site.