NOMS ESF Social Enterprise Challenge Projects

Overview of NOMS ESF Social Enterprise Challenge Projects



Partners - Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust, Acumen, Horticultural Acumen Ltd, Fabrick Housing Group, Cynergy

Overview Horticultural Acumen leads on the model as a large social enterprise nursery and landscaping company. It has a range of contracts for the supply of bedding plants, ground maintenance and landscaping and delivers horticultural qualifications, literacy and numeracy training and employability skills to offenders, many of whom are on unpaid work in the nursery.

Working with DTV Probation Trust, Horticultural Acumen develop new contracts and work with public sector bodies such as Local Authorities for whom they already deliver CP projects to build up a larger business which will have the capacity to trade through the existing Horticultural Acumen.

Acumen use supervised offenders to contribute to the delivery of their contracts. In turn offenders gain experience of working in a real work environment helping them to gain skills, and qualifications and will be supported into employment or self-employment with Horticultural Acumen or other businesses.


Partners - Framework Housing Association, Nottinghamshire Probation Trust.

Overview Paint It is an existing social enterprise who are employed through Framework Housing Association. They work with approximately 15-18 volunteers at any one time some of which face issues such as offending, mental health, substance misuse and homelessness. Offenders on Community Payback (CO) have the opportunity to be deployed within Paint It.

Paint It is responsible for the majority of internal decorations at direct access hostels and dispersed accommodation. Paint It not only meets the practical decoration needs of the charity but also the volunteers working within Paint It act as role models to people living in Framework’s accommodation services. As part of the model Framework Housing propose to employ a Paint It Community Payback coordinator who would be responsible for a second team made up of referrals by Nottinghamshire Probation Trusts Community Payback Team. This could mean that the team adopts a Community Payback brand specifically identifying its work to the general public. It would also enable close comprehensive supervision and monitoring to be carried out.

Offenders who are assessed as suitable for the programme would be trained to the minimum acceptable level in order for them to work on site. They will be trained in painting and decorating as well as other aspects of operating within a painting and decorating business such as scaffolding, manual handling, health and safety and CSCS. Once part of the team offenders we be offered the opportunity to undertake an NVQ Level II in painting and decorating. All participants will have their own individual learning and employment plan which identifies current barriers to employment and sets out steps that need to be taken to achieve their goals. Community Payback not only ‘pays back’ in terms of time but also in terms of acquiring skills and helping offenders back into employment.


Partners - HMP Foston Hall, HMP Sudbury, Derbyshire Probation Trust and Magfern.

Overview A partnership has been set up between HMP’s Foston Hall, Sudbury and Magern Waste Management (Derby) to tackle barriers to employment for offenders, ex offenders and those on community sentences. This partnerships intention is to promote opportunities to those involved with the Criminal Justice System to develop skills e.g. NVQ Level 2 qualifications in the area of sustainable development, health and safety at work, CPC etc. For those involved this means they will gain meaningful work experience and leave the placement with a reference from a successful employer in the sustainable development industry. Additionally those who complete their placements and qualifications will be eligible to apply for any paid posts that become vacant and get a guaranteed interview based on merit.

We aim to base learning opportunities at Foston Hall where learners will gain practical experience in recycling in a community/domestic setting alongside the NVQ which is the industry recognised learning path. Additionally with Foston’s garden is the opportunity for the propagation of plants to be used on unpaid work schemes which will develop and improve community gardens and social settings. Upon release offenders can apply for a work placement opportunity with Magferm supported by Derbyshire Probation Service.

Magfern are a respected company in Derby with three sites where placements and learning can be undertaken. There will ne a maximum of ten placements at any one time. There are six placements within the main site and four at the wood and composting site. Magfern have been in business for many years and are regularly inspected by the Environment Agency and therefore are fully compliant with relevant legislation and licensing.


Partners - Furnish

Overview London Probation Trust (LPT) working in partnership with Furnish, a furniture reuse social enterprise (SE), which collects furniture donated to them by residents of west London that may otherwise have been disposed of to landfill. Furnish only accepts furniture fit for reuse and passes this furniture on to families in receipt of benefits who are being housed into social housing tenancies.

Furnish will recruit a Project Supervisor to supervise offenders on the project. LPT will manage the project and will provide a part-time Placement Manager to oversee placements, liaise with Furnish and ensure the project aligns with LPT Community Payback (CP) procedures and national standards, as well as ensuring it is delivered in line with NOMS’ timescales and requirements.

Offenders will be subject to intensive requirements three days per work until they complete their CP hours. Working this way is known to contribute and enhance the opportunity for offenders to gain real work experience. It is expected that a minimum of forty-five offenders will undertake CP placements with Furnish during the delivery period and a minimum of ten offenders will gain paid employment upon completing their placements. In the last year, thirteen volunteers/ work placements have left Furnish for paid employment. The Shepherd’s Bush Housing Group has a good record of employing former volunteers/ work placements from Furnish, with six staff currently in such positions. All offender placements will have access to internal vacancies within the Shepherd’s Bush Housing Group.

Training that will be offered to the Furnish CP placements, includes: First Aid, manual handling and the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). Additionally, the CP placements will be mapped against LPT’s Skillstrain modules, allowing offenders to work towards OCN Level 1 accreditations in a variety of disciplines, such as ‘Developing Personal Development Skills’, ‘Preparation for Work’, and ‘Health & Safety in a Work Environment.’ It is expected a minimum of twenty offenders will gain accredited training outcomes through Furnish.


Partners - Merseyside Social Enterprise

Overview Merseystride is a Liverpool based social enterprise which recycles quality furniture and white goods for sale at affordable prices to the local community. They are an established business and have created 100 jobs for local unemployed people as well as a range of training opportunities. The company provide a valuable service to the community not only in its employment and training provision to local unemployed and affordable furniture to a severely deprived neighbourhood but also in clearing fly tipping and lessening the burden on landfill. They work closely with the City Council Environmental Department.

MPT's community payback team will select and refer eight offenders each working day to work with Merseystride. Initial training and guidance covering all health and safety aspects of working within this environment utilising machinery and materials, to a standard which will enable them to build and restore furniture and white goods. Offenders will receive training in and put into practice the building of flat pack furniture and recycling of white goods. Merseystride will also offer core skills training in reading, writing, numeracy, ICT and employability training and support.A high visibility team of offenders will be accompanied by a driver and will go out daily to collect dumped / fly tipped white goods off the streets. Enterprise Liverpool’s Environmental Team will identify where to collect these items from. The remaining offenders will work on building furniture in the Merseystride workshop.

On their return, those collecting the dumped / fly tipped white goods will join the others building furniture or recycling white goods. Offenders will build furniture and recycle white goods for four days. They will be able to utilise the full 20% allowance of hours against employability training and spend the equivalent of one day each week on Core/Basic Skills, reading, writing, numeracy, ICT and Employability Training & Support. Opportunities for job search will be available. The Probation ETE team will provide additional support in this activity and attend the project on a regular basis.

Building and recycling flat pack furniture and the recycling of ‘white goods’, will produce products which can be sold at 60% of catalogue prices through Merseystride’s furniture store in Great Homer Street, Liverpool (on the site of Liverpool’s busiest Saturday market).


Partners - Lancashire Probation Trust

Overview Cleaner Communities is a Social Enterprise themed around enhancing people’s environments through effective waste management and clean-up activities. Areas of operation for the enterprise will include carrying out community cleanup days, affordable garden maintenance for disadvantaged members of the community, void property cleaning and clearance, bulky waste collection and furniture recycling, event recycling.

Cleaner Communities will engage those who have been sentenced on a community order to undertake unpaid work (Service Users). There will be two teams of seven, one male team and one female team, who will undertake unpaid work on behalf of this new Social Enterprise, over seven days each week.

By undertaking unpaid work for Cleaner Communities, Service Users will be carrying out high profile community improvement work for a self sustaining social enterprise. Their sentence will provide the man hours needed to deliver the paid contracts, and because they will be under supervision at all times we will have the capacity to ensure the quality of work undertaken. As part of Recycling Lives’ commitment to offer opportunities to all people, they will ensure that all Service Users undertake Health and Safety at Work training.

Recycling Lives is also an AQA Accredited Training Centre, and all Service Users with sentences over 20 hours will have the opportunity to achieve AQA accredited qualifications whilst completing their community order sentence.


Partners - HMP Leyhill

Overview SOFA Project is a charitable enterprise in the household goods re-use sector, established in Bristol in 1982. Since 2005, when the EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment was implemented in the UK, we have run a substantial business stream in white goods re-use. This has run in partnership with the “Through The Gate” (TTG) operation at HMP Leyhill. They have considerable experience of taking in 14 work colleagues from Leyhill every weekday from 0730 to 1630, on daily ROTLs, giving them useful work experience and learning opportunities.

SOFA are about to launch an additional re-use enterprise: ‘SOFA Office’. This will be a franchise operation in partnership with the London-based 'Green-Works' social enterprise. Green-Works will arrange regular inward supplies of quality office furniture sourced from blue-chip companies across England and Wales.

This initiative will create opportunities for three prisoners at a time to work in SOFA Office over a 15 month period. Seeking NOMS financial support, we estimate that ten men will benefit directly. Ten more will be involved in a pre-ROTL furniture assembly project at the prison, to train/select individuals to be assigned to work at SOFA Office. Moreover, grant support would have a multiplier effect since it would underpin the financial stability of the whole of SOFA Project and thus ensure the continued delivery of our current rehabilitation programme, which we expect will benefit a further 22 prisoners over 15 months. Thus over 40 prisoners will gain from this project. Experience from this will also provide lessons and material which could be used to replicate SOFA's model, at other social enterprises elsewhere.

SOFA Project has provided workplace rehabilitation opportunities to 45 Leyhill prisoners over the past five years, including the 14 with them now. They have given permanent employment contracts to three ‘graduates’ of their scheme, and helped a further three win employment with similar organisations across England and Wales.


Partners - Avon and Somerset Probation Trust

Overview The Restore Trust was formed by Avon and Somerset Probation Trust in January 2010 to deliver skills, training and jobs to ex offenders. The Restore Trust now has a turnover of just under £500,000 and employs 46 ex offenders in the field of construction (They will be employing 100 over the project life).

From the start they have demonstrated real commercial success and are delivering hard outcomes in terms of jobs for their client group, they are looking to replicate and build upon their expertise with the following model.

Their proposal is a renewable model which will see the employment of a skilled Solar Installation operative. The employee in partnership with Weston College and it's state of the art Construction Skills and renewables facility will then be expected to undertake accredited tutor training providing a sustainable knowledge base going forward. In this way they will be able to develop and grow a part of their business by installing solar panels to homes in the South West area, taking advantage of new legislation that provides a financial incentive to home owners to install. Their target would be large units such as schools and industrial units as well as residential units which they feel the market is under exposed to in this field of expertise in the South West. They anticipate they are poised for very rapid growth.


Partners - Hampshire Probation

Overview Women’s Wisdom aim is to pilot and deliver an innovative and creative community payback model. It is scalable and replicable and embeds basic skills development, enterprise skills and job related skills development, alongside experiential learning in a real life, gender focussed work environment within the context of a social enterprise and specifically designed to meet the needs of female offenders.

The purpose is to prove a concept that will have a positive affect on re-offending rates and could be expanded to become an alternative to custody model. The pilot we create a Virtual Administration Resource Centre under the umbrella of WOW and, will be designed specifically to offer administrative support and ‘space’ for local community groups, social enterprises and local start up businesses (focusing on female owned start up). Through its income, it is not only a sustainable model but uniquely, it creates a cash ‘fund’ for micro bursaries and grants to local third sector organisations and individuals and thus provides the opportunity to give back to the community.

The Virtual Resource Centre will provide support to the local community by offering the following services:

  •  Administrative support including: telephone answering, mail shots, mail handling, data entry, scanning and database management, general administration as required.
  • Meeting space: eg for meetings, outreach workers, counselling sessions etc.
  • Use of services for local people who do not have access to IT equipment or telephones etc.

Offenders will be supervised on a 1:6 basis and will attend for an average of 6 hours per week. Their integration into the centre and personal development whilst at the centre will be fully supported by the core services offered through WOW and women will be encouraged to attend the centre on a voluntary basis outside of their Order.


Partners - HMP Ford

Overview Waste Works takes offenders in prison, on a seamless path developing employability in waste, energy and recycling. Run by Work This Way (WtW), at Ford Prison, Waste Works includes:

  1. induction and on-site training;
  2.  work placements with on-the-job training; moving on to
  3. delivering real contracts in work teams.

Offenders completing the programme achieve qualifications and practical experience in resource management, recycling and making biodiesel. Working with WtW, partner training company Labour+ and commercial and social enterprises, they develop soft skills such as team working and communications, gain references, income and support for their own business plans, where appropriate. Contract delivery by Waste Works teams provides an income stream to maintain the programme.

Waste Works focuses on skills for a sustainable future, but the programme includes other recognised, industrial skills demanded by employers, to maximise employability. A 2 week induction includes evaluation, introduction to principles, Ford-based training to NVQ2 in recycling (WAMITAB accredited) and making biodiesel from waste cooking oil (EDI accredited, designed for NVQ2).

Fitting with prison resettlement programmes, offenders go on a series of unpaid, specialist work placements managed by WtW, at at least three businesses over 10-12 weeks, to develop more accredited skills and experience eg fork lift trucks, and learn different aspects of recycling. For offenders with license restrictions, HMP Ford offers some recycling experience and WtW offers on-site biodiesel production. Offenders with particular aptitudes can undertake Site Safety Supervisor and Site Safety Manager Qualifications. During this placement period, offenders are selected to progress to a supervised work team to deliver a waste management contract for WtW. Training, placement and work team allocation are on a rolling basis as offenders are released. This offers flexibility and opportunities to ensure good team working and effective peer mentoring.