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    Encon helps Ex Offenders Bounce Back

    28th October 2016

     

    HMP Brixton recently opened its gates to curious members of the construction industry, keen to discover how the prison has joined forces with a charity to help tackle both skills shortages and rates of reoffending.

    During the visit, employees from Nevill Long (part of the Encon Group) and representatives from the FIS (Finishes and Interiors Sector) met with a variety of contractors to showcase the work that Bounce Back, a London based charity and social enterprise, is doing to train and up skill ex-offenders, helping to maximise their employment potential in the construction industry.

    As supporters of the charity, leading Distributor of Interior fit out products and systems Nevill Long has facilitated the provision of a variety of materials from Knauf Drywall, storing the products at the spacious East London branch and offering complimentary delivery to the prison, as and when the materials are required for the 12 week courses.

    Providing the link between Bounce Back and the key suppliers and potential employers they want to reach out to, Nevill Long has been able to assist the charity in funding the course and helping its participants secure employment once their sentence is complete, reducing the potential for reoffending.

    The visit to Brixton, one of two sites the charity currently operates, provided the opportunity for Nevill Long and Bounce Back to introduce this pioneering initiative to contractors, helping inspire them to consider providing workplace opportunities for ex offenders in the future and offering an insight into how the students feel about the course. Additionally, the visit provided the FIS, a key representative for specialists within the interiors and finishes sector, with all the information needed to reach out to their members and invite them to get behind the charity, via their dedicated publication SpecfInish.

    When asked if he enjoys the 12 week course, one of the inmates nodded keenly yes I look forward to it every day and it means I can increase my qualifications- I used to be a carpenter so this has just added to my skills.’

    Statistics show that around 90,000 prisoners are released annually with approximately 60% of ex prisoners reoffending within 2 months of being release. With this in mind, it’s vital that schemes, such as Bounce Back are made available to help offer inmates a sense of purpose and direction once they re-enter society.

    Additionally, the construction industry has long voiced its concerns regarding skills shortages across the trades and with Bounce Back working hard to address this through its innovative scheme this could be a perfect opportunity to bolster the construction workforce, provided more companies can get behind Bounce Back.

     

    ‘Bounce Back builds up my confidence and I now feel like I have a sense of belonging’