Artist finds employment through Community Work Sentence

Artist finds employment through Community Work Sentence

 Wed, 5th Oct, 2022

Storage containers at the Canterbury Agricultural Park have been turned into a work of art, thanks to the efforts of a man on a Community Work Sentence.

Sam,* who previously worked as a freelance signwriter and artist, when he was assigned to the Canterbury Agricultural Park to finish his Community Work (CW) sentence.

On hearing about his background, Canterbury A&P Association general manager Tracy Ahern put his skills to work on two of their storage shipping containers, asking him to represent a scene in line with the park’s long history.

The result was a historical farming scene spanning the two containers. So impressed with Sam’s work, Tracy has now employed him to paint more agricultural scenes across the park.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with what Sam has done. He’s breathed new life into what were otherwise a bit of an eyesore. They look fabulous.  

“We regularly use people on a Community Work Sentence to help us with things that need doing around the park; their team recently repainted the historic Treasurer’s hut.”

For Sam, his experience has not only allowed him to give back to the community and pursue his artistic passion, but also find fulfilling employment as he creates more art around the Canterbury Agricultural Park. He is currently working on the corrugated fences near the wood chopping area, which will be on display at the upcoming New Zealand Agricultural Show, November 9-11.

Michelle Brookes, a senior Community Work supervisor, says the Canterbury District team is really grateful for the relationship with Canterbury A&P Association.

“Every Saturday, you’ll find around 15 people doing Community Work hours at the Canterbury Agricultural Park, allowing people who work full-time to achieve their hours, without sacrificing their employment.

“They are a key community partner offering interesting and rewarding year-round work in a safe and supportive environment. Not every organisation is comfortable or can take on the higher-risk people we have on our caseloads, but the Canterbury A&P Association team do.

“People go to the park and get involved in weeding, fixing gates, building park benches, painting lines on the rugby fields… you name it. Recently, one of the men I sent there said that he loves it – and wants to keep going back.”

“This is a fabulous outcome and shows how important Community Work placement can be, helping people back on the right path and reducing their risk of reoffending,” says Michelle.
*Not his real name