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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.

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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
Categories: Uncategorized
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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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We are in the logo!

Jul 28 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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Today the Cabinet Office celebrates its 300th Point of Light!

To mark the milestone of these awards that acknowledge outstanding volunteers,

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 16.27.01 they have designed this graphic. Look carefully and following her award earlier in the year Fran has made it onto the image! Top left of the 2nd zero!

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T shirt thanks to Axis

Jul 28 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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We are always grateful to a partner for taking ownership of a tangible item and the T shirts currently used in our training centre were funded and co- branded by Axis.

Furthermore director Joe Ibrahim visited the centre to deliver a truly inspirational talk to the guys who thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic illuminating morning giving them the drive to aspire to a job on release.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 14.46.33

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The Official Opening

Jul 14 2015
By: Gail Stephens
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It was brilliant to return to the Clink Restaurant a year on for another fabulous breakfast launch party to officially open our Dry Lining Centre. The wonderful Tom Watt hosted the event and interviewed one of our long standing cohorts, Tremaine who has been through both our courses. Over 100 attendees toured both centres and heard from Val Lowman (Be Onsite) and Debbie Akehurst (Land Securities) how the vision of training to fulfill a construction industry skill shortage has become a reality with the opening of our centre.

We are delighted that the centre is doing so well so soon as this

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 15.49.23 Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 12.14.05is an exciting progression in line with our objective of effectively training offenders with skills that are relevant for positioning them well for entry into the construction industry workforce on release.

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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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