People who have carried out crime are paying back their debts to society by rolling up their sleeves and helping with the soon to open Fans Museum project.
For the past couple of months service users on the Community Payback scheme have been carrying out jobs alongside volunteers at the community project and football museum, which its hoped will open this summer.
Nick Hall and Janine McDowell both of the Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company have met with museum founder Michael Ganley to see how work is progressing at the former Monkwearmouth Station Museum building, close to Wearmouth Bridge.
As well as housing shirts worn by some of football’s most famous names such as Pele and Diego Maradona, the museum includes the boardroom table and chairs from Sunderland AFC’s former home Roker Park, as well as scores of other Black Cats memorabilia.
Michael said: “Some people have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“They may have been given fines, suspended sentences or they may have to do a number of hours within the community so they’ve come to help us and we’ve had them doing painting.
“I have to say that we have had no absentees over the seven weeks, which is great because it is tremendous what they are doing.
“From what the guys have said, they really do enjoy coming here. They have even been turning up on a Sunday and getting straight into things.
“There’s a great team building process between them and our volunteers.”
Mr Hall said: “This place feels like it’s rooted in the community before it’s even open and I think that’s incredibly impressive from Michael and the team.
“I’m really pleased that our service users can support that.
“You can really see the impact it has had on the community.”
Michael added: “We are unlike any other museum.
“There’s no other museum in the world which will let you go and try on Pele’s shirt from the World Cup or let you hold a European Cup winner’s medal.”
The museum is due to officially open to visitors this summer.