Livery Companies have a strong tradition of philanthropic giving. They have for some time provided funding specifically to enable offenders’ rehabilitation. This has included the work of the Sheriffs and Recorder’s Fund which has provided individual grants to prison leavers and also funding for charities such as Bounce Back, whose programmes focus on helping people leaving prison to find and keep work.
The Pan Livery Group’s ambition is to now take a strategic, bold and pioneering approach and target the resources of the Companies, starting with employment in the Building Industries sector whilst seeking the support of the wider Livery. The focus will be on a specific group of people leaving prison that will both align with the values and ambitions for philanthropic giving alongside economic benefits for the Companies and the economy more generally.
There will be a 12 month pilot facilitated through the charity Bounce Back. The aim of the pilot is to engage with 300 individuals and achieve 40 ex-offenders into sustained employment, with housing provided if needed. Reoffending costs the UK economy £15 billion a year and the reoffending rate for those given 12 month prison sentences is 64.1%. This project is therefore seen as a useful addition to the strong tradition of philanthropic giving by the Livery.
The project is looking for Livery Companies to contribute in two ways, the first is by making a funding contribution directly, and just as importantly, by offering employment to appropriate candidates as they leave prison. The construction sector is being targeted because this is traditionally an area where ex-offenders find good employment and are most comfortable, but it can equally apply to other industries.