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COMPANY PROFILE - BY SANDRA DICK


Waste company gives second chance to off enders who may have trodden the wrong path


IT’S hard to imagine many people looking back on their time in prison as being a particularly positive episode in their lives.


After all, reoff ending statistics show most off enders go back to a life of crime. Homelessness, family break ups, drug use and violence often go hand in hand with time behind bars.


And for many, time out of jail is a fl eeting precursor to heading back inside. But Ian – and dozens of other ex-off enders whose lives have been positively changed by award-winning Preston- based waste management business, Recycling Lives – has a diff erent story to tell.


Years of drug-related criminality had left him at a crossroads when he arrived at Recycling Lives’ Academy in HMP Lancaster Farms. There he learned recycling skills; once outside, Recycling Lives’ residential charity gave him a place to stay while he built confi dence, undertook work placements, and found his feet.


“I was ready to change my life, but I had no direction or motivation to do so,” he said. “Until I met Recycling Lives.”


He now lives in his fi rst fl at and works at Recycling Lives’ Recycling Park as a crane driver: “I feel excited for the future now,” he said.


Launched 10 years ago by entrepreneur Steve Jackson OBE


DL, as a social enterprise venture to help homeless people into work, Recycling Lives now has a nationwide presence, a string of prestigious awards and hundreds of people like Ian embedded within its structure.


Running alongside its commercial waste management operation are three key elements:


• Recycling Lives HMP Academies across the North and Midlands work hand in hand with male and female off enders teaching recycling, fabrication and welding skills, paying enhanced wages and laying foundations for future work. By providing new opportunities for off enders, it has helped reduce reoff ending rates signifi cantly;


• A residential programme that provides accommodation, support – medical, dental, physical and mental - and employment opportunities for homeless men; and


• A Food Redistribution Centre, run in partnership with national charity Fareshare, which since its launch in 2015 has diverted hundreds of tonnes of food destined for landfi ll or incineration, and shared it among its network of more than 125 community groups such as food banks and hospices.


12


SHWM July, 2018


www.skiphiremagazine.co.uk


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