A major project has been lent some helping hands from two teams of inmates from Tamworth's Correctional Centre.
Over 80 hours of "hard yakka" have been put in by the carefully-selected minimum-security inmates, who are working to help maintain the Tamworth Mountain Bike Park.
Not only are the crews gaining valuable skills, but the labour-intensive tidying is being credited for an almost three-fold increase in visitors over the COVID-19 period.
Corrective Services NSW trade overseer Dean Hensley said the Community Project Teams have been learning new skills and getting accustomed to work hours and routines, which will have a positive impact on their rehabilitation chances.
[T]he inmates also feel a strong sense of pride in giving back to the community and helping to make something a little better.Dean Hensley
"The crew and I find it satisfying to get a good job done and see improvements, but the inmates also feel a strong sense of pride in giving back to the community and helping to make something a little better," he said.
Tamworth Mountain Bikers Treasurer Jeff Benson said the club was grateful to have the assistance, and complimented the crews on their commitment to the work.
"We're very pleased to have them there and it's great to see them doing something worthwhile and giving back to the community," Mr Benson said.
This has no doubt been a contributing factor to the threefold increase in family attendance and bike riders into the park, in particular during the COVID-19 restrictions.Jeff Benson
"This has no doubt been a contributing factor to the threefold increase in family attendance and bike riders into the park, in particular during the COVID-19 restrictions."
One group, over five weeks, has worked on the mountain bike park and the Yuundu Warrawi Cultural Trail, a traditional Kamilaroi pathway between the Peel River and Stone Axe Quarry.
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Works on the trail have been undertaken thanks to a major NSW Stronger Communities grant.
In Tamworth, the Community Project Team has also helped the Regional Landcare Association, Junior Riding and Pony Club, and Kootingal and District Pony Club.