Ian ended up in prison as a result of drug addiction, losing not only his home but his relationship and family ties, as well as his own confidence and self-belief.
“I was ready to change my life but I had no direction or motivation to do so until I met Recycling Lives,” he says.
Recycling Lives is a provider of award-winning waste management services, but aims to have a much bigger impact upon the community. The company offers work placements and employment opportunities to formerly homeless men or ex-offenders so they can regain their independence through work.
This was a main part of my recovery and rehabilitation
Ian regained a sense of stability he believed would never return after enrolling with one of Recycling Lives’ nine HMP Academies, which offer offender rehabilitation programmes in prisons.
“The opportunities it gave me were worth the hard work,” Ian says. “It gave me routine and responsibility so it was a main part of my recovery and rehabilitation.”
Since 1991 The Big Issue has sold more than 200,000,000 copies – helping the most vulnerable in society earn more than £115 million.
Upon release from prison, Ian moved into the residential side of Recycling Lives’ initiative in Preston, undertaking work placements. He was soon offered a full-time job, allowing him to move into his own home.
Last winter Ian enjoyed Christmas day with his family for the first time in 12 years: “My family are so proud of me now. I’m excited for what’s ahead.”
The business saw 37 people rehabilitated in 2015/16; thereby creating social value worth £2.7m by creating savings for the criminal justice system by reducing reoffending rates.
Just like Ian, Dean was worried for his future when he was jailed for the third time. Upon working in a Recycling Lives HMP Academies Workshop and showing a solid work ethic and determination to improve his life for the sake of his three kids, he was offered a full-time role with Recycling Lives upon his release.
This meant that not only was he given a job processing scrap cars, but also a home and the hopes of a stable relationship with his children, who he now sees every weekend as a result of turning his life around.
“They’ve helped me with everything: a job, a house and my kids,” he says.