Entrepreneurs Unlocked, a social enterprise, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the Build Back Up Project, to help prison leavers into self-employment in construction.
£10,000 of funding is needed, by the Build Back Up Project, for 30 prison leavers to gain work, over a six-month period, to carve out a new career and to help them avoid re-offending.
The Build Back Up project will work with prison leavers seeking to gain work as self-employed construction subcontractors. They will access training resources to inform them how to find work in the sector and be provided with essential tools and workwear to enable them to accept any offer of work.
David Morgan, the Founder and Director of Entrepreneurs Unlocked, said, “It’s essential that we support prison leavers who are keen to make a fresh start with a new career and the construction industry, with its skills shortage, is the perfect place to do it. By becoming a subcontractor, workers are in control of their income and contract opportunities, and more importantly, they will be much less likely to re-offend and return to the prison system.”
On average, 45% of adults who are released from custody re-offend within 12 months. The total cost of re-offending in the UK exceeds £18 billion per year.
David adds, “As construction and infrastructure projects continue on COVID-safe sites, demand for workers continues to rise with more subcontractors needed. Build Back Up will not only help the individual but will also help to address the skills shortage in the construction industry.”
Skillsmax, a non-profit business that focuses on mobilising communities, has shown its support for the crowdfunding campaign, by donating £1000 to the Build Back Project.
Lynne Johnson, the business owner at Skillsmax, explains why the Build Back Up Project is so important to them, “There are two main factors behind our decision to support David Morgan’s Build Back Up Project. The first is that the funding available to prison leavers has been hard to access and difficult to establish, in particular over the last 12 months.
“We, of course, understand that the pandemic has had an impact on this when it comes to funding streams, but the long term effect is that many prison leavers will simply not be supported when they leave custody, which in turn can often lead to reoffending and an ultimate significant cost on the public spending.
“Any support given to help prison leavers into work following their release from custody is proven to help reduce re-offending, and if they can become self-sufficient through self-employment, this reduces required funding and support from the government even more.
“The access to funding is increasingly difficult for these men and women, who need mentoring and support upon leaving custody, but with David Morgan’s Build Back Up Project, we see a programme that really does give the support that is so needed right now.
“The second reason why we want to wholeheartedly support the Build Back Up Project is that we want to reduce the number of newly self-employed people failing and returning into the system.
“To achieve this, prison leavers are in need of structured support and an understanding of what they want to achieve and tailored help in achieving it. For example, in construction, workers are often very good at their trade but they fall down when it comes to bookkeeping and timekeeping, and this is the type of support that is needed to help keep them in successful self-employment and to prevent them from failing and going to the wall in the next 2 years.
“What the Build Back Up Project is doing is so much more than just talking about self-employment and how to become self-employed. David Morgan is demonstrating, to the prison leavers he supports, the pitfalls, the tricky situations and the circumstances that can occur, when starting out in self-employment and in particular for ex-offenders who may have been in custody for some time. The project gives the people on his programme with the tools and support to overcome the challenges and potential pitfalls and to come out the other side.
“The Build Back Up Project is very different to other models out there, in that other models often focus on how to broadly get into self-employment and how to meet the minimum threshold for self-employment, but David and his programmes look into why people want to do this, he challenges their reasons, and this approach builds resilience and confidence in what they are doing.
“The journey out of custody and into self-employment is not a quick fix, it is the support, the mentoring and the tools that David Morgan’s Build Back Up Project is providing, that will help prison leavers into a long-term self-employed future.”
Lynne Johnson concludes, “For a small organisation like Skillsmax, we want any money we donate to make a difference and David Morgan’s Build Back Up project does exactly that. We would encourage other businesses and individuals to support this crowdfunding campaign.”
Smart Subcontracting Programme
In addition to the Build Back Up project, Entrepreneurs Unlocked is also calling on the North West construction sector to provide prison leavers with opportunities to become subcontractors in construction.
This initiative has been funded by HM Prison and Probation Service through Clinks’ COVID-19 winter support grants programme to deliver its Smart Subcontracting Programme. The Clinks grant is delivered to small and specialist organisations working in the criminal justice system across England and Wales.
Entrepreneurs Unlocked needs the help of North-West construction businesses to give prison leavers from HMP Hindley an opportunity to work for them as a subcontractor, following the successful completion of the Smart Subcontracting Programme.
David Morgan, the Founder and Director of Entrepreneurs Unlocked, said, “The labour market will be challenging in the future, but with construction spending set to rise, self-employment can be a sustainable pathway for prison leavers.
“In order to prepare those leaving custody with the best chance possible, we have created the Smart Subcontracting Programme. This programme provides prison leavers with detailed knowledge on how to become legally registered subcontractors in the construction sector.
“We are looking for construction businesses, initially in the North West, to work with us to provide opportunities for prison leavers who have successfully completed our programme and to help give these men a chance to return to society with a new start and a new career in construction.”
The Smart Subcontracting programme includes practical advice on where to look for work, how to stay in work, and how to manage money and comply with the requirements of HMRC. It will also provide essential CITB Health and Safety in a construction environment and learning resources to prepare participants to gain the necessary qualification and their CSCS Labourer card. Prison leavers who complete the programme will be given assistance in registering with the HMRC, access to online accountancy software and the support needed to start work as a self-employed subcontractor.
The Build Back Up Project, a crowdfunding campaign, closes on March 31. Visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/build-back-up—construction-for-prison-leavers?tk=916d534f98df9881b4b86dd36fa90630c214b66b