Winners 2015 Categories

overall-winner-smallLumos

Ending the plight of institutionalised children in Moldova

 

Charity-Awards-JK-Rowling-imageHarry Potter author JK Rowling was inspired to help institutionalised children after reading about children in caged beds in the Czech Republic. She promptly set up what would later become Lumos – a charity that works to end the systematic institutionalisation of children around the world and see them placed instead into safe, caring environments.

Lumos has active programmes across eastern Europe, and the project being considered for a Charity Award is based in Moldova – Europe’s poorest country with one of the highest rates of children separated from families and placed in institutional care.

In 2007, with support from Lumos, Moldova’s government pledged to reform childcare, closing institutions and replacing them with family and community-based services.

The charity found that while non-disabled children were easy to place back into families, disabled children faced being left behind. These children were suffering from neglect, under-stimulation and stress as a result of their institutionalisation, which would have a profound effect on their development and future life prospects.

So Lumos set about creating inclusive educational services from scratch. It was a process that involved changing mindsets at every stage of the process – putting the needs of children above the needs of the State and at the heart of decision-making.  The charity uses financial modelling to prove that replacing institutional care with home and community-based services is cheaper, as well as better for the children.

By the end of 2012 the number of institutionalised children in Moldova had reduced by 62 per cent, but this still left around 4,000, with 45 per cent of those disabled. The government has now drafted a new action plan for deinstitutionalisation for the period up to 2020.

Awards judge Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said the project demonstrated “really good practice in a challenging environment”.

Judge Su Sayer, founder of United Response, described the programme as “a terrific model”.

“What Lumos is doing is just so desperately needed,” she said. “I imagine that this will just spread and spread and spread.”

www.wearelumos.org

CC reg no: 1112575

outstanding-achievementBarbara Frost

The accidental aid-worker

 

-Water-Aid-CEO--tight-head-shot_FOR-WEBSince Barbara Frost joined WaterAid as chief executive in September 2005, the global NGO has increased its coverage from 15 countries in Asia and Africa to 37 and more than trebled its income from £27m a year to £83m. Now it has just launched an ambitious new five-year strategy that aims to ensure that universal access to safe water and sanitation is included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the overarching aim of which is to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2030.

Frost talks with obvious passion about the charity and its objectives to bring the basic human rights of safe water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone everywhere within 15 years – yet she had no great ambition to work in overseas development, in fact she fell into the sector almost by accident.  She’d been living in Australia for about 15 years, a strong sense of wanderlust having driven her abroad straight after university, and for seven of those years she’d lived in an alternative therapeutic and conservation community – “kind of a commune, though we didn’t call it that, we called it living co-operatively”.  She’d worked in a variety of interesting jobs at government and quango organisations, when a series of encounters and “weird coincidences” led her to apply for a job with Community Aid Abroad – now Oxfam Australia – in Mozambique.

 

Even when she was offered the post, she very nearly turned it down.  Mozambique was wracked by civil war at the time, and her predecessor in the role told her his family had decided to leave because now that they had two small kids, they couldn’t run as fast to escape from attacks.  Frost chewed on the offer over a weekend, and almost all her friends said she would be mad to take it.  But one, a travel journalist, urged her to go for it.  “It’s such a fascinating country, and it’s only for a year – what have you got to lose?” he said.  So she took the job and a few weeks later found herself in the capital Maputo.

“It was the most difficult experience of my life,” she recalls wryly. “I spoke no Portuguese, I had no experience of international development, and it was a very small organisation that didn’t have a lot of support in Maputo.  For a few months I wondered what I’d done.” But slowly she adjusted, things got easier, and eventually she finished the task she’d been charged with – finding a Mozambiquan to take over her job.

She moved then to Save the Children in Mozambique, and then to ActionAid, spending over four years in Mozambique altogether.  “It was extremely interesting and I learnt a huge amount.  Then I moved to Malawi with ActionAid, which was completely different. Mozambique had been a socialist regime, very dynamic with lots of different cultures and we’d had a lot of support, the ANC operated from there during the end of apartheid and Nelson Mandela came to visit after he was released from prison.  People told me Malawi would be more oppressed because of the Banda regime, but also much more stable.  I’d been in Malawi two weeks and suddenly there was a small coup, the army bombed the youth headquarters of the president and that led to democratic elections. I was an election monitor at the first democratic elections in Malawi, which was fascinating.”

After three years in Malawi she applied for promotion to country representative but was passed over for a more experienced candidate.  It was a huge disappointment at the time, she said, but a decision that she later came to be very grateful for when she landed her next job, at Action on Disability and Development (ADD).  She’d met someone on the beach at Lake Malawi who told her about ADD, and she was intrigued by the idea of an organisation that married both the disability rights work that she’d been doing in Australia, with the community development work she’d been doing in Africa. A few weeks later she saw a job ad for the ADD chief executive role and phoned a VSO colleague to talk about it. In another fortuitous coincidence, he had just been rifling through books at Lilongwe market and had bought a book written by ADD and Oxfam about the philosophy of disability rights in development.  He gave it to her to read.  So when she was called to interview for the job, she was incredibly well-informed and, not surprisingly, got it.

So even though she still considered herself an Australian and had always vowed never to return to the UK, Frost found herself back in Frome, Somerset, just five miles from where she’d grown up. At the time ADD was working in 12 countries in Africa and Asia, helping to mobilise disabled people to speak up for their rights. “Disabled people are among the most marginalised, the most excluded, the poorest people in most communities, so it was very humbling, very moving, very important work actually – that whole rights-based approach for disabled people, rather than just being around medical care, is really strong. Some of the advocates I met were so inspiring, it was a terrific job.”

Acevo board member

Returning to the UK in 1996 after 23 years away meant she lacked much of a support network, so she got involved with Acevo.  Before long, then-chair Geraldine Peacock convinced her to join the board, and soon she was vice chair.  She led some work with New Philanthropy Capital on a project around the importance of core costs, trying to persuade charities to be upfront about their overheads and to sell that message effectively to funders – “but I don’t think it made a material difference to how things are today.  It did for a while but the issue needs constant leadership. I feel very disappointed about the whole thing, I think we don’t do nearly well enough as a sector on this.  We’re apt to be complicit with this idea that we can run charities on fresh air. We almost compete on minimising our overheads, rather than saying overheads are not bad things – in fact they’re necessary for good leadership, management and governance.”

After nearly ten years at ADD, where she admits she led “a wonderful life”, a colleague mentioned that the WaterAid CEO was leaving.  “I assumed they wanted another engineer in the post,” Frost says, “but I was told that wasn’t the case, they wanted someone to lead on women’s issues, girls’ empowerment, people’s rights and community mobilisation.  On that basis I was very interested – but I knew I was coming down with a terrible case of malaria and had to get my application in within a couple of days while I could still function.  So I was absolutely delighted to be offered the job.”

‘We don’t take ourselves too seriously’

The day I interview Barbara happens to be in My WaterAid Week, and the UK staff are gathered in the kitchen for a coffee morning, one of 34 taking place in WaterAid offices around the world that day in different time zones.  People have baked and decorated a variety of cakes in the shape of toilets, the images of which will be shared globally on the charity’s intranet.

Barbara enthuses: “What I love about WaterAid is that while we are absolutely passionately committed to doing everything we can in terms of poverty eradication and human rights, water and sanitation, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.   We think change can often happen through humour, so every year we try and do stuff on World Toilet Day, and our ‘Louie the laughing loo’ made the Today programme, when our serious press releases about women’s issues were just ignored.

“Our latest release is around ‘If men had periods’, which sounds a bit like an old feminist thing but it’s just so funny.  It will go out just before Menstrual Hygiene Management Day, which is a big day for WaterAid!  It’s talking about how if men had periods – imagine; they would celebrate the day they came on, they’d have a big initiation ceremony when their first period happened, there would be no white sportswear, there would be no taboo.  It’s true!

“We are good at using humour to draw attention to a serious fact, that girls are dropping out of school because they have nowhere to wash and change when they are menstruating and it’s a really taboo subject.”

It’s not easy to get Barbara off the subject of WaterAid and the issues it campaigns on, and even when I try to guide her back to talking about herself, she insists: “It’s not my outstanding achievement, it’s the organisations I’ve worked for.

“ADD was all about the power of the disability struggle, and the difficulties that disabled people face, and that really gave me the strength to do as much as I could for them.  And WaterAid – just the story of what it’s like if you can’t turn on a tap, you can’t get a drink of water, if you’re a woman and you’re on your period and there’s no toilet.  Two and a half billion people in this world don’t have a toilet, it’s amazing, it’s a huge crisis actually. There’s lack of proper sewage disposal and sanitation facilities, there’s not nearly enough investment in infrastructure – there’s an enormous amount of work that needs to go on. And it’s not a sexy topic – opening a new sewage works just doesn’t attract the same political capital as a new school or hospital.”

To this day WaterAid remains true to its founding ethos, set by its founding director David Collett, so that it is not operational, it invests in local organisations to deliver services, it works with governments, and it doesn’t go places where it’s not welcome. “We’re very humble in our approach, we push other partners in front of us,” Frost says.

“I’ve always been attracted to organisations working on stuff around people’s rights, helping communities hold people to account, and raise their voices and understand what they can do to make change happen.

“But I certainly think you get the best results if people lighten up, and if we all think about how we get the best out of others.  I’m very keen that we think about what will get the best results in our campaigning.  That means thinking not just about the message that we want to get across, but what is heard by the person sitting across the table, and what will make them feel good about doing something to make change happen.

“That’s usually not beating someone around the head and making them feel guilty, but coming up with something that will make them be seen in a positive light, or making them think it’s their idea.

“And I always feel we need to be humble.  When we do development work in other people’s countries, we work with other organisations and we employ local people, because if change is to happen effectively the people who can do that are those that know the context, the politics and ‘how things work round here’.”

Andrew Hind, chair of the Charity Awards judges, who first met Barbara when they were working at ActionAid, says she is one of the sector’s leaders who has “never chased her own profile” and that she “personifies the values of the organisations she works for”.  WaterAid’s values, as listed on its website, are respect, accountability, courage, collaboration, innovation, and integrity.

Barbara is the first to admit that she never had any grand career plan.  “I took opportunities and I took risks, and I wasn’t afraid to try different things.  Was I lucky?  Absolutely – though I think I put myself in positions where luck could happen.”

 

 

The Frost years

1970 – 1972 University of Keele, BA Hons course, psychology and social sciences

1973 – 1979 Administrative positions with Australian Commonwealth

Public Service and the Perth Hospital for Women

1980 – 1983 Personal assistant to Minister for Consumer Affairs, NSW

1983 – 1986 Neighbourhood centre coordinator, Bellingen, NSW

1986 – 1989 State manager of service development, Home Care Service, NSW

1989 – 1991 Country director, Community Aid Abroad, (Oxfam Australia), Mozambique

1991 – 1992 Assistant head of Southern Africa Regional Office, Save the

Children Fund (UK), Maputo

1992 – 1993 Senior programme officer, ActionAid, Mozambique

1993 – 1996 Deputy director then acting director, ActionAid, Malawi

1996 – 2005 Chief executive, Action on Disability and Development, Somerset
1998 – 2008 Trustee and vice chair, Acevo

2003 – 2006 Trustee of the Development School, an NGO based in the Balkans
2005 – now Chief Executive, WaterAid

2011 Awarded two honorary doctorates from Exeter and Cranfield Universities

overall-winner-smallHoward League for Penal Reform

The Books for Prisoners campaign

 

Charity-web-image14-HowardLeague-1866

In November 2013 the Ministry of Justice introduced a blanket ban on loved ones sending books to prisoners, as part of a crackdown on ‘perks and privileges’. The Howard League received complaints, not just from prisoners and their families but the wider world, that this was unfair.

The League’s Books for Prisoners campaign began organically, with a conversation between the charity and author Mark Haddon on social media, which led to a letter to the MoJ signed by leading authors. At the same time a Change.org petition, independent of the charity, garnered tens of thousands of signatures and the Poet Laureate staged a reading outside Pentonville Prison.

However, ministers refused to meet with the charity. Instead the government published an open letter to the Poet Laureate outlining its reasons for refusing books to prisoners.

The charity solidified the campaign by creating the hashtag #booksforprisoners and encouraging people to take #shelfies – pictures of their own bookshelves. This mobilised authors and celebrities, and encouraged supporters to send books to the Ministry of Justice. Supporters photobombed oral evidence from the Justice Secretary to the Justice Seelect Committee with copies of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

A prisoner eventually took her case to the High Court, supported by the Howard League, legal team, and the judge found in her favour.  The prison rules were then changed.

The campaign resulted in 84,000 prisoners being able to receive books from loved ones. It also grew the charity’s membership by 38 per cent and its Twitter following by 50 per cent.

Awards judge Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said the project had “every aspect you could want from a campaign”.

“They identified an issue, approached it in lots of innovative ways and were really successful,” he said.

www.howardleague.org

CC reg no: 251926

overall-winner-smallLowry Centre Trust

Removing barriers to engaging with art

 

Charity-web-Lowry-image

Five years after opening, the Lowry theatre and gallery complex in Salford embarked on a new project to reach out to deprived parts of its local community to build a long-term relationship with people who had not previously engaged with the arts. It identified that the two main barriers to engaging with the gallery were cost and the perception that arts and culture is not socially accessible for some people.

The Lowry started with the Walkabout Project, which ran from 2006 to 2011, to engage with people in local community settings. It followed this up with bespoke projects aimed at targeted groups such as young carers and young people who are not in employment, education or training. Since 2011 it has worked with more than 300 vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them develop skills and confidence. Many of those have gone on to take part in further training.

It introduced the Our Lowry membership scheme to overcome the cost barrier. Through this scheme, people with a Salford postcode are able to access free and heavily discounted tickets to shows throughout the year. So far it has more than 15,000 active members and expects to have 19,000 by 2018.

The Lowry has seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of visits from local residents since 2011 and a quarter of tickets are sold to people under the age of 25.

Awards judge Sam Macdonald said the project was a “good example of community engagement”.

The programme listened carefully to people and engaged,” he said.

www.thelowry.com

CC reg no: 1053962

overall-winner-smallSafer London Foundation

Helping young women make positive life choices

 

Charity-web-image-anthony-SLF-graphic-HOCcropweb2Safer London Foundation was set up to improve the safety and wellbeing of young people in London affected by violence and crime.

The charity’s Empower project addresses sexual exploitation of girls by gangs, providing prevention measures and interventions to empower them to make positive life choices.  It aimed to increase their confidence, their health and wellbeing, to keep themselves safe and to understand consent and what makes a healthy relationship.

The programme’s methodology marries the voluntary sector with statutory agencies in a coherent multi-agency partnership.

The programme boasts impressive results. Evaluations suggest that 95 per cent of beneficiaries developed strategies to keep themselves safe, 90 per cent had an increased ability to manage risk and 85 per cent had an improved safety record. Some 84 per cent said they had developed an increased understanding of healthy relationships.

The project also provided a path to education and employment, with 73 per cent actively re-engaging with work or learning.

Some 146 young women received one-on-one support through the programme, while 702 young people benefited from awareness-raising group sessions.

The project was described as an “excellent and much needed programme”, by Awards judge Su Sayer.

“To date they have worked with almost 1,100 young people directly and have had an impact on the lives of 1,500 young people,” she said.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said it was “strong application” from a “tough to deliver” programme. “I very much liked it,” he said.

www.saferlondonfoundation.org

CC reg no: 1109444

overall-winner-smallThe Disabilities Trust

Supporting Vulnerable people with brain injuries

 

Charity-image-The-Foundation-Photos-April-2012-230The Disabilities Trust sought to quantify the extent to which brain injuries were the cause of social and personal problems, including the risk of homelessness and contact with the criminal justice system, and carried out the UK’s first ever prevalence study of brain injury in a homeless population.

Research showed that 48 per cent of homeless people had suffered a brain injury and that nine in ten of those injuries had occurred prior to homelessness. Research in prison found a similar story: 47 per cent of prisoners reported brain injuries, with seven in ten of those injuries occurring prior to offending.

However the charity found no special provision to address these issues in the relevant systems, and began to develop methods to integrate brain injury support into prisons.

The Trust’s work was piloted at HMP Leeds. It developed a diagnostic tool to screen for brain injury in the prison system, as well as a training system to help people working in prisons to cope with those suffering from brain injury. And it designed tools to work alongside rehabilitation programmes.

Funding was provided for a full-time link-worker – a brain injury-trained psychologist supported by a team of professionals – working with offenders while in prison and after they leave. The programme has now been extended to two other prisons.

“This was a nicely run programme,” said John Low, Awards judge and chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation. “It was well managed with good outcomes.”

www.thedtgroup.org

CC reg no: 800797

overall-winner-smallParkinson’s UK

Improving the care of people with Parkinson’s

 

Charity-web-image-parkinsonsParkinson’s UK developed an accredited learning programme for care staff after carrying out a survey which revealed that many sufferers felt care was not being provided by people who understood the condition. The charity also discovered that there was no accredited learning available.

It set about developing a learning programme and secured funding from the J Macdonald Menzies Charitable Trust in 2010. It was accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in the summer of 2012 and after running the programme successfully in Scotland for three years, the charity is set to expand it across the United Kingdom.

The Parkinson’s UK education team provides resources and training to facilitators, who in turn deliver the programme to staff at their organisation. Staff from care homes, care agencies and care-of-the-elderly wards have taken part in the programme and in 2014 the charity appointed a full-time programme manager and part-time programme coordinator to cope with the high level of demand.

Content is presented in a social rather than medical way, to make it more accessible. One social worker described the programme as “the best training I have ever been on”. An annual external review of the programme by the Scottish Qualifications Authority graded it as ‘highly commended’.

Awards judge Sam Macdonald said: “This was an innovative response to a simple but serious problem rosé – I liked the cascading effects.”

www.parkinsons.org.uk

CC reg no: (258197

overall-winner-smallCool Earth

Protecting rainforests and villages from exploitation

 

Charity-web-Matthew-Owen-with-an-Ashaninka-CommunityCool Earth works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.  Its Ashaninka project in Peru aimed to protect 5,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest but has already protected 137,000 acres.

In 2008, like thousands of other Peruvian villages, Cutivireni village was offered a logging contract.  Although the loggers offer only a fraction of what the trees are worth, when a village is poor, even a small sum can be accepted.  But when cheaper trees are cut down to make new houses for the village, the villagers end up in debt to the loggers and are forced to plant coca on cleared land to pay these debts.  Before long the whole community is completely controlled by organised crime.

Cutivireni didn’t want this to happen so the villagers contacted Cool Earth for help.  The charity fundraised to match the loggers’ offer and offered the villagers half then and half in a year. 

The villagers spent the money on a solar dryer which improved their cacao harvest and boosted their income.

After five years there is now 153,536 acres of Ashininka forest immune to loggers’ overtures, with a further 1.4 million acres behind this shield inaccessible too. In the wider region, the average loss of canopy cover over five years was 29 per cent; in Cool Earth communities this loss was just 3 per cent. The project has supported 2,900 people over an area of 621km2.  Within that area incomes have risen by 70 per cent.

Since Cool Earth was founded in 2007, over 500,000 acres of rainforest worldwide has been saved and a further 4.1 million acres shielded.  Some 35,500 indigenous people have been supported.

www.coolearth.org

CC reg no: 1117978

overall-winner-smallCumbria Community Foundation

A partnership approach to independent living

 

Charity-Web-armchair-Ex.-class-20.11.14Cumbria Community Foundation’s Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme (NCIP) has delivered £1m in public sector savings and helped almost 30,000 vulnerable adults and older people in Cumbria to maintain their independence.

By 2012 unprecedented pressure on resources and Cumbria County Council budget cuts were impacting on services. There was recognition that a new and innovative approach was needed in order to develop a sustainable solution. Contracting with sole delivery organisations was no longer the answer.

The Council needed an independent organisation to run an £860,000 per annum programme for an initial three years, targeted at adults at risk of losing their independence. With a proven track record in managing strategic grants programmes and the ability to convene partnerships and attract and secure additional resources, Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) was selected for the role. It facilitated a partnership of 33 voluntary sector delivery organisations but offered a single access point to beneficiaries.

By the end of the first year, one in eight of the county’s older residents had used NCIP services. Independent evaluation of NCIP by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University found that 95 per cent expressed satisfaction, with over 80 per cent very satisfied. The evaluation also concluded that NCIP “is contributing effectively to reducing and delaying the need for health and social care”. CCF says that the most positive lesson was the scale of benefits resulting from delivery partners working together, both for their clients and themselves.

Awards judge Danielle Walker Palmour described it as a “great example of working collaboratively with a whole range of people”.

www.cumbriafoundation.org

CC reg no: 1075120

overall-winner-smallForward

Educating students and staff on FGM

 

Chariuty-web-FORWARD-image-1The Foundation for Womens’ Health Research and Development (Forward) has worked on the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) since 1983. There are around 137,000 women living with FGM in the UK and 60,000 girls are considered to be at risk. Despite this, a 2013 NSPCC poll of 1,000 teachers revealed that 83 per cent of teachers had never received safeguarding training on the topic, and only 16 per cent knew it was illegal.

Forward believes schools are best placed to protect girls and set up its schools programme with three main aims: helping schools create a safe, supportive and open environment; equipping teachers with the knowledge to better respond to FGM; and, raising awareness of FGM among students.

The charity built on its knowledge of working with schools to train staff, conduct student awareness sessions, outreach sessions and parent sessions. It also recruited a programme coordinator to lead on this work.

Since January 2013 Forward has held 300 FGM awareness sessions in 50 schools and colleges across London, reaching 8,485 pupils including 400 primary school children, and run safeguarding sessions attended by 1,400 school staff. An impressive 100 per cent of teachers polled said they would recommend the student sessions to a colleague.

Paul Farmer, Awards judge and chief executive of Mind, said that while the project operated in a “hugely sensitive and very challenging area”, it was operated “by the right people at the right time”.

www.forwarduk.org.uk

CC reg no: 292403

overall-winner-smallLumos

Ending the plight of institutionalised children in Moldova

 

Charity-Awards-JK-Rowling-imageHarry Potter author JK Rowling was inspired to help institutionalised children after reading about children in caged beds in the Czech Republic. She promptly set up what would later become Lumos – a charity that works to end the systematic institutionalisation of children around the world and see them placed instead into safe, caring environments.

Lumos has active programmes across eastern Europe, and the project being considered for a Charity Award is based in Moldova – Europe’s poorest country with one of the highest rates of children separated from families and placed in institutional care.

In 2007, with support from Lumos, Moldova’s government pledged to reform childcare, closing institutions and replacing them with family and community-based services.

The charity found that while non-disabled children were easy to place back into families, disabled children faced being left behind. These children were suffering from neglect, under-stimulation and stress as a result of their institutionalisation, which would have a profound effect on their development and future life prospects.

So Lumos set about creating inclusive educational services from scratch. It was a process that involved changing mindsets at every stage of the process – putting the needs of children above the needs of the State and at the heart of decision-making.  The charity uses financial modelling to prove that replacing institutional care with home and community-based services is cheaper, as well as better for the children.

By the end of 2012 the number of institutionalised children in Moldova had reduced by 62 per cent, but this still left around 4,000, with 45 per cent of those disabled. The government has now drafted a new action plan for deinstitutionalisation for the period up to 2020.

Awards judge Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said the project demonstrated “really good practice in a challenging environment”.

Judge Su Sayer, founder of United Response, described the programme as “a terrific model”.

“What Lumos is doing is just so desperately needed,” she said. “I imagine that this will just spread and spread and spread.”

www.wearelumos.org

CC reg no: 1112575

overall-winner-smallBlue Sky Development & Regeneration

Reducing reoffending by employing ex-inmates

 

charity-web-image-blue-skyTen years ago, ex-bank robber Steve Finn met Mick May, an ex-banker, and the two of them decided to do something about the ‘revolving prison door’ problem that sees nearly two-thirds of all offenders released from prison go on to commit more crime within two years.

They set up Blue Sky, “the only company in the country where you need a criminal record to work there” – an employment agency that provides labour for entry-level vacancies within local authorities and, more recently, private sector firms that deliver public services.

The core model is the same as it was in 2005: the work is entry-level so no qualifications are needed; recruits are employed then trained so that they are earning from day one; Blue Sky is the employer and thus takes much of the risk from the contractor. Stringent risk management assessments are undertaken so that only the more appropriate people are hired.

Employees are hired on six-month contracts and then helped to find permanent jobs elsewhere.  They can also get help with housing costs through Blue Sky’s Housing Loan Scheme, or other one-off bills.  Some 29 loans totalling £7,500 were issued in 2014.

In the last ten years Blue Sky has employed and supported 1,000 ex-offenders and less than 15 per cent have reoffended – one-quarter of the national average. An independent evaluation of social return suggests that for every £1 Blue Sky receives in charitable funding, it generates a return of £17.40 in terms of the reduced costs of reoffending.

www.blueskydevelopment.co.uk

 

CC 1118372

 

Awards partners