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Oct 02 2017
By: Gail Stephens
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Transforming the Environment: HMP High Down

Our funded pilot project, which was part of the Ministry of Justice’s Reform Prison programme, “Improving the prison environment”  in HMP High Down was completed in September 2017.

The project involved a number of inmates in the painting and decorating of various rooms including the homework room and listening room. The participants themselves were the designers of the redecoration in every respect and the process consisted of three intensive group planning sessions as well as personal in cell work. Participants chose the colours and concepts, putting forward ideas for special features such as the blackboard pillar in the Homework Club Room.  This involvement created a sense of shared ownership and accountability to the prison community as a whole.

The results were highly effective and all of the rooms were further enhanced by the talented artist, Federica Ciotti whose amazing murals brought each room to life.

In addition to improving the atmosphere of the “Listening Room” – a private space where prisoners can “off load” to a trained fellow inmate “Listener”, the Homework Club Room was also completely transformed.

The purpose of the Homework Club redesign was to create a welcoming environment which would reduce the trauma of coming into a prison environment for visiting children and increase the quality of time spent with their father. The goal was to create an environment which was visually stimulating and interactive: an “oasis” in the prison complex which would meet the needs of all users. Featuring an exquisitely drawn “Evolution Wall” and an amazing “Interactive map of the world” the result was quite overwhelming.

The feedback from all the families is so positive. They are really grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with their children in such a friendly environment” –  Prison staff working with Families and visitors

Federica and her “Evolution Wall”

 

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The “Fill the Gap” initiative

Sep 01 2017
By: Gail Stephens
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We are delighted to be in partnership with a number of organisations working on employer led training and pathways into construction for ex-offenders in a unique project entitled “Mind/Fill the Gap”. Specifically responding to the needs of employees in the construction industry the objective is to reduce the skills gaps of trained workers within the industry giving employees access to the talent pool that people leaving prison/the 11 million people with a criminal record represent.

Led by Lendlease Be Onsite and part funded by CITB, the programme delivers training and support into jobs via the collaboration of a consortium of a range of organisations who all work within the employment support sector and have a desire to focus on work with ex-offenders. We ourselves provide skills training both in and out of prison whilst the others in partnership including PJ Careys, Lee Marley Brickwork and Scaffolding, Mitie Foundation, NACRO and a Fairer Chance all give their specialist support towards the ultimate objective of sustainable employment.

The programme which began on 1st May 2017 focusses on London and the South in year 1 with other areas of the UK including Manchester, North West, Birmingham and West Midlands in years two and three.

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Our Out for Good Programme continues

Aug 15 2017
By: Gail Stephens
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Following the success of our first Out for Good project in HMP Brixton, funded by Sheriffs and Recorders, we are about to embark upon our second programme.  Having worked on the outcomes with the partner employers involved we are able to evaluate the learnings from the first project to adapt and develop the next one starting in October.

These 6 month programmes, run by Bounce Back and Prospects/NCS, give a variety of employers a chance to be involved with the recruitment of prisoners with the support of the dedicated Out for Good Team.  Working with both participants and employers throughout the period and for up to a year beyond, an Out for Good team manager ensures the process through preparation and into work is managed throughout.

To become involved prospective employers for the programme are invited into the prison to run a workshop and explain their company ethos, highlight positions available and give a realistic view of their expectations to the programme participants. The participants are individuals who are motivated to work and are between 4 and 6 months prior to release. Both sides are then supported with candidates being prepared for the job opportunities whilst allocated “champions” within the company liaise with the team.  As they near the end of their sentence the programme participants interview for the roles with the employers and many are offered full time employment.

Employers that engaged with the first programme included Tideway, Young’s Pubs, Keltbray, Alandale and Tfl and a total of 20 job offers were accepted.

 If you would like to find out more about our criteria and how to be involved with our Out for Good programme please contact us.  

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Our feature on the BBC

Dec 12 2016
By: Gail Stephens
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We were so pleased that Raphael Rowe was so inspired by our work that following his visit to open the scaffolding centre that he campaigned to run a feature on our training and employment on the BBC The One Show in early December.

The comprehensive piece started in HMP Brixton interviewing our trainer and a trainee before visiting one of our recently qualified and released cohorts now out working full time on site with Alandale.

It really told our story well and we hope raised awareness hugely of the importance of giving ex-offenders a chance.

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Our Scaffolding Centre officially opens in HMP Brixton

Oct 18 2016
By: Gail Stephens
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At an event attended by in excess of 100 people held at the Clink Restaurant our scaffolding centre was officially opened by Paul Elliott,  eminent football governing body ambassador and passionate supporter of youth engagement, and hosted by TV presenter and journalist Raphael Rowe.screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-12-37-14

The launch of our latest skills training centre is a very special for two reasons. It is the first ever in a UK prison and secondly it is a clear example of a response from the construction industry to an immediate need for scaffolding recruits.  Alandale, through its relationship with Land Securities came into the prison and set up the training facility for us so we could train up potential employees.

Debbie Akehurst Head of Economy and Communities at Land Securities said ‘ this is a great example of true partnership working – the new Scaffold Centre will meet industry skills gaps and tap into the potential of people in prisons, it’s a win win situation for everyone’ – people get a second chance, the industry gets skilled workers and our communities become safer by reducing reoffending rates’

What has also been hugely rewarding is the immediate response we have had from scaffolding companies around the UK who are keen to tap into the unique pool of trainees for a section of the industry that is crying out for workers.

‘We have been delighted by the opportunity that this gives our participants to get into employment on release’ says Fran Findlater CEO of Bounce Back.  ‘As we focus on training skills that respond to the need of the construction industry, in this case we have more than fulfilled our objectives – we could easily place 20 or more scaffolders into work and we’ve only been open a couple of months.  This is all about getting our participants ready for work on site.  It is not about high levels of extensive training, it is to see if individuals have the appetite to go up a scaffolding tower and get involved in the hard work the profession requires.  If participants do this, dry lining and painting and decorating in our 3 centres, we know they will have an aptitude on release.  Ultimately this has one end goal – stopping people coming back to prison because they have the skills, confidence and earning potential to manage on the outside.’

Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said:

“Bounceback is an excellent example of how employers can provide invaluable work opportunities for offenders while in prison to help them turn their lives around.

“Schemes like these can help to break the cycle of re-offending, which means fewer victims and saves the taxpayer money.”

In addition we continue to ensure that the trainees have also gained their CSCS cards whilst still in the prison environment so they are ready to work as soon as they are released – something that is fundamental to preventing people re-offending when they leave prison.

The employers and companies we work with have been resolute in their support, as have NOMS, NOVUS and the prison.  The industry values the fact that not only does the organisation provide training, but they work with the individuals ‘through the gate’ as well as with employers on an ongoing basis to ensure both sides are working well together.  As Keltbray said when they started working in the sector ‘we genuinely couldn’t have done it without them’.  Equally, we couldn’t do it without the support of the construction companies, it is an ideal model to take forward.

 

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Containing ourselves

Nov 10 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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Our “hub” in the vibrant container village at PScreenshot 2015-11-09 18.16.29OP Brixton is taking shape. This will provide us with a functional, much needed accessible outreach space for people to drop into and use computers, access information, meet colleagues and get jobs.

We are raising funds to get it up and running and hope to be there soon.

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WME/IMG Volunteering day

Oct 20 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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We were thrilled to once again welcome 8 enthusiastic employees from William Morris Entertainment/IMG for their global, annual “Walk the Walk” volunteering day. This year their day was spent at the vibrant POP Brixton where we are soon to take the container which will be our hub in the community.  Screenshot 2015-10-19 14.52.11

The day was all about helping organisations already resident at POP and was therefore very diverse. Starting with garden landscaping with Uncommon, followed by an introduction to the Brixton Pound they then pulled on the dungarees to paint a container.  A quick break then time for a Q and A session with some young budding talent at Reprezent Radio.

Screenshot 2015-10-19 14.53.53

The feedback on the day was really positive and we are flattered to be so sought after as an organisation for these day.

Screenshot 2015-10-19 14.54.24

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Team Strategy

Sep 24 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.24.00With so many exciting things going on we took stock at an away day. Facilitated by David Hall-Matthews we evaluated where we were and looked at the future.  With support from Walgreens Boots Alliance the day was held in Kings Place and quite miraculously the entire team attended.

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Guest Blog – Turning prison space into business space

Sep 16 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.44.31

A post by Iqbal Wahhab

Founder of The Cinnamon Club and Roast restaurants

and chair of Bounce Back’s advisory board

 

The recent launch of Bounce Back’s dry lining centre training Brixton prisoners in a much needed skill by London’s hugely growing construction industry shows not just how much employers are stepping up to engage and employ prisoners on day release and then when their sentences are complete, but also shows how much more can be done in this vein.

Brixton of course also houses The Clink restaurant where inmates have been given day release opportunities at my Borough Market restaurant Roast and indeed some have gone on to secure full time employment to much success – so much so that one was recently “poached” to work at another restaurant. Annoying and satisfying at the same time.

The hospitality sector is very well skilled in complaining about the lack of skilled candidates coming forward to fill our vacancies; we’re less well skilled in attracting people to us.

My interest in prisons and engaging with ex-offenders started eight years ago when I was asked to lead a “Seeing is Believing” tour for Business in the Community to Wormwood Scrubs where I got to visit the kitchens. Inmates cooked up to 200 meals a day without ever being told that they were developing a skill. It was just a task to them.

Even dafter than that was the response I was given as to why there was so much empty space in the kitchen.

There used to be a butchery in one section but now they bought in pre-prepared meats and there used to be a bakery but now they found it easier to buy in sliced bread. I don’t know about the skills shortage issue among candle stick makers, but butchers and bakers are desperately looking for people to help grow their businesses. Every chef I know would love to have their own baking section and buy whole carcasses but London restaurant space comes at such a premium that for most it’s a luxury they cannot afford.

Relying on prison authorities to join these dots themselves is fanciful. They have their hands full with enough day-to-day issues and are facing cuts all the time. Only a few governors, like Graeme Hawkins at Isis, take pastoral care to ensure prisoners leaving them find a job and do not return as most tend to do.

I imagine there are acres of empty building space in our prisons which businesses could be putting to good use, just as happened with the dry lining centre. Bad Boy’s Bakery, also in Brixton and set up famously by Gordon Ramsay, was a good step in that direction but it was ancillary/unconnected to his core business. If restaurants could team up with butchers and bakers to become an essential part of our procurement programmes we would become committed to the process and ensure its success and longevity as it would be in our commercial interests to do so.

We could get a delivery line not just of produce we require but also of skilled people we could then put to work in our own kitchens when they were released. Bounce Back could help design and build the spaces.

And talking of spaces, watch this one for what happens next.

 

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The first 5 are through! 

Aug 11 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 15.06.11The dry lining centre has been looking at bit busier than this of late and we are delighted that our first 5 participants have completed the course. What is more exciting is that they have all had in custody interviews which could lead to work using this skill upon their release which is imminent.

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  • “Bounce Back is, above all, about its people. What is known is that a job and income on release is fundamental to success in coping with day to day life and preventing re-offending. Our drive to change perception in employers and clients is reaping rewards and our professional team is working around London and the Home Counties.

    The mutual trust and respect at the core of our values reflects the growing belief in giving social enterprises and socially disadvantaged people an opportunity to succeed and thrive. We are just one stage in this development, the determination of our participants to start a new life and move on is a formidable ingredient in the recipe for success."

    Francesca Findlater, Founder/Chairman

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